The experts also stressed on the need for fund allocations and enhancement of infrastructure
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Ahead of the Budget 2023, industry experts from the healthcare sector empahsised on the need for equal attention to paediatric health in rural areas so that children can lead a healthy life. The experts also stressed on the need for fund allocations and enhancement of infrastructure.
Minnie Bodhanwala, CEO of Wadia Hospital, said, "To address the issues of higher neonatal and early neonatal mortality, newborn care services at health facilities are of prime importance. It is essential to come up with facilities for the care of sick newborns such as Special New Born Care Units (SNCUs), New Born Stabilization Units (NBSUs), and New Born Baby Corners (NBCCs) at different levels. It's important to take some effective initiatives to improve paediatric care in rural India. Factors like healthcare facilities, unhygienic conditions, and unavailability of proper diet, can impact the child’s overall well-being."
Adding further she said, "Cardiac ailments, congenital defects, and airborne diseases such as tuberculosis, whooping cough, pneumonia, and measles, tend to take a toll on one’s respiratory tract and lead to higher mortality and morbidity rates in children. Malnutrition among rural children is also a matter of concern. There is no awareness in rural India regarding of predominance of pregnancy and childbirth illnesses and deaths. This budget should pay equal attention to paediatric health in rural areas so that children can lead a healthy life."
Meanwhile, Dr Namrata Jaitli, Director – Policy and Programme Impact, Bal Raksha Bharat (Save The Children), empahsised on the need for enhanced allocation and public expenditure for children.
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"Union budget 2023-24 provides us an opportunity to increase public investment on children so as to further India’s aspirations in Amrit Kaal, as it moves towards its 100th year post independence. Regular assessment and augmentation of public expenditure on children will enable children (40% of India’s population) to contribute to India’s growth. Investing in children will contribute significantly towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for India , which includes ending hunger, improving nutrition, ensuring healthy lives, ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education, reducing inequality, and combating the impact of climate change and its implications on children," she added.
While sharing expectations from Budget 2023, Dr Jaitli said, "Include information on actual expenditure on child-focused programmes and schemes in the Child Budget Statement of the Union government, with greater details provided about the relevant child focused institution, programme and scheme. A comprehensive analysis of budgetary provisions for children should be undertaken, which should include total allocation and expenditure by Central and State Governments, as well at Panchayats and ULBs."
She also urged Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to increase public funding on health to 2.5% of GDP so as to improve the share of Child Health budget in total Union Budget. "Extension of ‘Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakaram’ (JSSK) entitlement till five years of age and ensuring diet and stay benefits for accompanying mothers/caregivers in order to ensure better survival opportunities for children up to five years of age and reduce out-of-pocket expenses of families," Dr Jaitli said.
Dr Vivek Talaulikar, Chief Executive Officer, Global Hospital, Mumbai, urged Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to enhance healthcare infrastructure and healthcare resources to reduce the incidences of lifestyle diseases.
"The government is already working to manage the burden of communicable diseases and we can see the result with a decline in the graph. Now, the focus should be on lifestyle disease. Heart disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and hypertension are some of the lifestyle diseases that are commonly seen in both young and older populations owing to increasing urbanization. Healthy India will progress our nation and for that we need the young generation to be active. Lifestyle diseases should be more focused on. All the parameters work differently; hence all are important to give focus starting from medical devices to even medicine," he said.
"New medical devices of the developed versions are to be used same for medicines also. Take measures such as conducting drives and initiatives to reduce mortality and morbidity rates owing to lifestyle diseases. Early cancer detection and prompt treatment should be encouraged in people. We need appropriate infrastructure and healthcare resources to reduce the incidences of lifestyle diseases. In view of rising cases of breast, ovarian, lung, oral and cervical cancer, the government should take some vital measures to improve the quality of life of the patient," Dr Talaulikar signed off.