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New Delhi : The Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on September 26, 2020, said that the disruption caused by the pandemic must be seen as an opportunity to radically reform our health sector by effectively harnessing the power of digital technology and Artificial Intelligence powered tools. He was addressing the 38th Annual Convocation of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) through video conferencing.

Calling for the digitisation of the health records and creation of a national platform to facilitate collection of comprehensive healthcare data across the country, Naidu said that this will ensure that all the stakeholders in the health sector are digitally connected. He added that the analysis of data thus collected can produce valuable information, which can be used to improve the effectiveness of our health system.He said that as the world’s second-most-populous country with a track record of rapid economic growth, India faces both unique challenges and unprecedented opportunities in the sphere of public health.

Speaking of the several milestones the nation has achieved in healthcare since independence, Naidu said that India has dynamic pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, world-class scientists, including a burgeoning clinical trials industry and leading hospitals that attract foreign patients. He added that India is now the pharmacy to the world and expressed hope that it would soon be the most preferred healthcare and health tourism destination to the world.

The Vice President said that Indian healthcare scenario was a spectrum of contrasting landscapes, at one end of which are state of the art, urban hospitals and research centres that are undertaking cutting edge research, driving healthcare industry forward and on the other end are rural healthcare institutions that need substantial improvement, according to a PIB release.

He asked private sector players, especially organisations like the AAPI to strengthen the hands of the government in its quest to deliver quality healthcare to the last citizen. Observing that countries with strong primary healthcare systems have better health outcomes, Naidu emphasised the need to strengthen India’s primary healthcare system. “The private sector must collaborate with various state governments in establishing state-of-the-art primary healthcare facilities in each district,” he said.

Expressing concern over the rising incidence of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) or life style diseases, especially among the youth in India,  Naidu urged organisations like AAPI to collaborate with the government and private sector in India in their crusade against NCDs. He also highlighted the need to invest in providing timely and high-quality emergency health services in the country and the need to train every citizen in emergency first aid and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR).

Dr. Suresh Reddy, President, AAPI, Dr. Sudhakar Jonnalagadda, President elect, AAPI, Dr Seema Arora & Dr Sajani Shah, Members of AAPI, doctors and medical professionals attended the online event.