BHUBANESWAR: Director of SGPGIMS of Neurosurgery Department in AIIMS Dr Ashok Mahapatra on Saturday sought to promote telemedicine projects across the country to have a rural telehealth network which will help serve people better and create employment opportunities.Speaking at an event on world’s first Information and Communication Technology (ICT) based sustainable development programme organised by Orissa Trust of Technical Education and Training (OTTET), Dr Mahapatra said with the help of technology, people can be provided quality health consultation through tele-conferencing.
“The country is struggling with shortage of trained doctors. At Independence, we had 10 medical colleges. The number went up to 200 in 2000 and now we have more than 400 medical colleges. Seventy years ago, the life expectancy was 33 years while it is 67 for women and 65 for men now. But we are still lagging behind countries like Japan where life expectancy is 89 years,” he said.
As per the 2001 Census, India had a shortage of 10 lakh doctors while the 2011 Census says the country needs 12 lakh doctors. “That means we have failed to bridge the gap. Every body is talking about health for all. But how can we have it when the country has the lowest people and doctor ratio. India is better than only 10 countries in respect to doctor-patient, population-bed and bed-ICU ratio. Australia has a population less than Delhi but it has three times more ICU beds than India,” said Dr Mahapatra.
Not only doctors, the country as well as the State are suffering from acute shortage of nurses, technicians, OT support staff and other para-medical staff. As per a conservative estimation, India has a deficit of around 60 lakh nurses. There is tremendous gap between the hospital and bed, population and doctor and equipment and trained manpower. In this context, tele-medicine facilities, which can provide health care support to rural people, is the need of the hour, he added.MSME Minister Prafulla Samal was felicitated on this occasion. Member of High Level Committee of MoP&NG Sidhartha Pradhan, OTTE advisor DK Roy and managing trustee KN Bhagat also spoke.