Steps to Revamp Health Systems in AP: Chandrababu

HYDERABAD: The Government of Andhra Pradesh has directed all medical colleges in the state to make Wi-Fi facility available to students, immediately. Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu took the decision during the second meeting of the State Medical Advisory Board here today.

With the state healthcare systems in shambles in the past 10 years due to lack of proper direction and focus on public healthcare, human development indices have worsened leading to high maternal and infant mortality rates. To set direction and making considerable investments in public health, the State Government had formed State Medical Advisory Board to work on revamping public health systems in Andhra Pradesh. The Board first met in January 2015.

In the meeting today, the chief minister was briefed about how digitization of exams, course modules, journals, textbooks and library in Dr. NTR University of Health Sciences (NTRUHS) has made things easy for students.

Naidu directed Dr. Ravi RajuTatipudi, Vice-Chancellor of the University to also upload results of all examinations taken by students previously. “That will make it easy for them if they want to check their scores and improve their performance,” he added.

Special Chief Secretary (Health) Subramanyam informed the chief minister that specialized cardio-care facility has begun in Guntur General Hospital, while it will soon be started in Visakhapatnam’s King George Hospital, Ruia Hospital in Tirupati and Kurnool Medical College.

Meanwhile, Dr Somaraju of Care Hospital has suggested that medical colleges/universities should be housed in the same campus as the hospital in order to create an entire ecosystem.

Dr. Arun Singh, a neonatal expert, suggested that nursing colleges too should be a part of the ecosystem to give hands-on experiences to nurses/paramedical staff, instead of being isolated. Dr. Singh also highlighted the need for fundamental research in universities where professors have to carry out the research.

Dr.Jagannath, chairman, Department of Surgical Oncology, Lilavati Hospital and Research Centre, suggested that paramedical courses with diploma or certificate-course be introduced in order to allow rural students to complete the course in a short time and acquire on-ground practical experience.

The chief minister has asked the Advisory Board to come up with a strategic action plan, which will identify the low-hanging fruits to bring in immediate results and also suggest methods to revamp the entire healthcare system, which will bring in long-term results, keeping the changes in healthcare across the world.

“We have to shift from curative system to preventive healthcare system,” the Naidu said.

Principal Secretary of Primary Health Poonam Malkondaiah said the bottom-up transformation could happen through 1.5-lakh field workers, including Anganwadiworkers, ANMs and ASHA workers. “From educating/counseling women on lifestyle changes to prenatal and postnatal care, they can be a great force that can be utilized to educate people on preventive healthcare,” she added.

Stating the people should reap the benefits of the changes in healthcare system, the chief minister said fixing targets for field workers, monitoring work and data uploaded online on a real-time basis as well as fixing accountability would improve progress in the sector.

“We can also explore ways to involve experts, corporates through CSR, NGOs, philanthropists and other individuals who will contribute to the cause and help the state in restructuring the entire system,” he added.

On medical education, Naidu asked Dr. Ravi to explore collaborations with Harvard Medical School and John Hopkins School of Public Health in designing course structures for medical colleges in the state. “We can also have them as guest professors in our universities where they can not only impart skills to students but also to our teachers,” the he opined.

Dr. Somaraju, chairman and MD of Care Hospitals; Gullapalli Nageshwara Rao, founder of L.V.Prasad Eye Institute; Dr. Jagannath, chairman, Department of Surgical Oncology, Lilavati Hospital and Research Centre; Sujatha Rao, former secretary, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare; Dr. Balamba, prominent gynaecologist and other health department officials were present.  (NSS)

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