Kolkata: India is facing an epidemic of non-communicable diseases like diabetes, heart disease and cancer, according to Dr Prathap C Reddy, chairman of Apollo Hospitals Group and founder president of Global Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (GAPIO).
“India is facing an epidemic of non-communicable diseases like diabetes, heart disease and cancer. It is estimated that by 2020, cardiovascular disease will be the cause of over 40 per cent deaths in India as compared to 24 per cent in 1990. By 2030, India will have the largest number of diabetic patients and will become the capital of diabetic patients in world. This is a dubious distinction that we do not need,” Dr Reddy said while speaking at a two-day international conference of GAPIO that began on January 11 here to discuss solutions in healthcare for improving health worldwide.
Addressing the delegates, Amit Mitra, minister of finance, commerce and industry, Govt of West Bengal, said he supported the idea of mass health insurance at a very low cost premium, availability of low cost generic medicines through public distribution system for public at large and role of telemedicine in providing healthcare to people in remote areas.
During the conference US-based gastroenterologist Dr Sanku Rao took over as president of GAPIO; UK-based paediatrician and neonatologist Dr Ramesh Mehta as vice president; Dr Anupam Sibal, paediatric gastroenterologist, hepatologist and group medical director of Apollo Hospitals, as secretary general; Dr Nandakumar Jairam, chairman, Columbia Asia Hospitals, as joint secretary and US-based allergist and immunologist Dr Sudhir Parikh as treasurer.
Dr Rao informed the delegates that GAPIO had assisted in developing a web portal known as SwaasthIndia.com (www.swasthindia.in) in collaboration with American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), USA and British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO), UK to provide essential healthcare services at various locations in India with the help of doctors from India and overseas.
“The website will act as a matchmaking portal where Indian medical diaspora can view and apply for these opportunities put up on this portal by various state governments,” he said.
The conference was attended by over 300 delegates from India and overseas particularly from US, UK, Australia, Russia, Africa and Middle East. Renowned national and international faculty spoke at seven clinical sessions comprising of cardiac sciences, neurosciences, diabetes, gastroenterology and liver transplantation, robotics, nephrology/kidney transplantation and oncology, according to a statement by GAPIO.
At the conference Dr Sandip Mukerjee — Dr B C Roy National Awardee, former honorary surgeon to the President of India and past president of Delhi State Chapter, Association of Surgeons of India — and Dr Sudhir Parikh were honoured with the GAPIO Lifetime Achievement Awards. GAPIO Service Excellence Award was given to 14 GAPIO members.
GAPIO was envisaged by Dr Prathap Reddy; Dr Sanku Rao, past president, AAPI; and Dr Ramesh Mehta, president, BAPIO. It was launched in New Delhi in January 2011 to bring together 1.2 million physicians of Indian origin in the world on one professional platform. This substantial work force of physicians is a valuable resource, which can help to mobilize significant developments in the healthcare globally. GAPIO has representation from 26 countries at present.