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A child born in 2010 may live for more than 100 years

Hyderabad: The average life expectancy in the country has improved to 63.5 years from 26 years at the time of independence due to advancements in medical industry. A child born in 2010 is expected to live for more than 100 years, according to experts.

Speaking at the curtain raiser of the Indo-Global Healthcare Summit to be held here from June 20 to 22, Dr Kakarla Subba Rao, eminent radiologist and former director of Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS), Hyderabad touched upon the innovations and advances in healthcare.

“The average life expectancy at the time of independence was 26 years and today it has dramatically improved to 63.5 years due to advancements in medical industry. A child born in 2010 will live for more than 100 years,” he said on Tuesday.

Dr Rao defined health as not just lack of disease but physical, mental, moral, social and spiritual wellbeing. As per the Vision Document 2020, the government’s responsibility is to change sickness services to health services by providing clean air, potable water, nutritious food, hygiene, sanitation and healthy environment.

The summit will be jointly organised by Indus Foundation, Indian Medical Association (IMA), Government of Andhra Pradesh, the Federation of AP Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FAPCCI).

“India has 20 per cent of global disease burden. India’s hospital beds are 0.9 per 1000 population, which is 1/3rd of the world’s average. About 40 per cent people live in urban areas where there are few beds, 1/3rd of national average. And in rural India 3/4th of total disease burden is handled just with 1/9th of hospital beds and 1/4th of human resources,” he said.

According to Dr Rao, one-third of 1.3 million private health facilities are not registered and almost three per cent of the country’s population slips below the poverty line every year due to burden of healthcare. “The irony is that only 12 per cent of population have insurance and 70 per cent of hospital expenditure is out of pocket,” he said.

Dr Rao said, “In spite of several five-year plans, predictions, promotions and preservation of peoples’ health has been hampered by inadequate healthcare budget, infrastructure deficiency, inadequate hospital beds and inadequate doctors, nurses, paramedical personnel and health administrators.”

Quoting a report on ‘Healthcare in India’ Dr Rao said it has identified three major diseases — tuberculosis (1.8 million new cases per year, 5 lakh die with TB and 1/3rd of global burden), HIV/AIDS (5 million people are suffering from HIV/AIDS), and water borne diseases by the next decade. “These will be followed by cardiovascular diseases, neuro-psychiatric disorders and renal diseases and hypertension,” he said.

Universal insurance coverage, optimum utilization of information technology, production of indigenous drugs, medical devices and equipments, promotion of telemedicine and consultancy, effective critical healthcare system and promotion of medical tourism are some of the solutions to the present sad state of affairs in the healthcare sector, Dr Rao said.

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