05 November 2011
By Pallavee Dhaundiyal Panthry
Indians are different and more prone to coronary artery heart diseases; and it's a genetic fact. In fact, 50% of all heart diseases in the
world are happening in India. So it's important to know how to save oneself," said Dr Ashok Seth, President Elect, Cardiological Society of India. The epidemic of CVDs is increasing rapidly in India, especially coronary heart disease and stroke resulting in epidemiological health transition in the country. Though CVDs are the world's number one killer, it can be prevented. Responding to the need of the hour, The Times of India organised a conclave in association with Cardiological Society of India, on October 20, in the Capital, to offer a platform to various stakeholders of the healthcare fraternity to deliberate upon effective healthcare solutions for growing concerns of health threats. Titled as 'India Heart Conclave', the health forum was spread over various sessions, namely, 'Public awareness on preventive measure before life threatening event strikes'; 'Prevention– multi pronged strategy'; Hard hitting facts on CVDs – Millennium development goals'; 'Clinical insights: Cutting edge treatments and technologies'; and 'Making advanced care affordable to the man: Where are the road blocks and the solution'.
"In India, communicable diseases have become less burdensome, but non communicable ones are more problematic now. Longevity and fast lifestyle have landed us into this challenging situation," said Dr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission, Govt of India, while addressing the audience at the inaugural session. He added, "Besides, we should have more curative centres in the country and follow a systematic approach to prevention. Role of public and private sector together is important and government must help to promote and encourage the partnership."
The forum started with training session on 'Public awareness on preventive measure before life threatening event strikes' which was followed by discussion on prevention and role of diet, food habits and lifestyle interventions.
In India, CVDs are on the rise due to stressful lifestyle. Poor and lower middle class can't afford private hospital treatment costs. "First three hours are very important for a person being diagnosed with cardiac disease. The only government super specialty hospital to cure CVDs is G. B. Pant Hospital. Understanding the dire need, we are planning two more super specialty hospitals in the Capital," said Dr Ashok Walia, Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Employment, Revenue and Irrigation Delhi and Flood Control, Govt of NCT of Delhi.
Food habits play a major role in keeping one healthy and sturdy. One should know what and what not to eat. What oil we use and in what quantity also make a lot of difference apart from daily exercise and yogic exercises. As per Dr Anju Ghei, Head, Preventive Healthcare, VLCC, "Mustard oil is the best for cooking food. Or you can mix mustard oil with other refined oil to make it. Besides, canola oil is also good and isn't as expensive as olive oil." “You do exercise at least one hour a day. Yoga is very good for health. Also, 30 minutes of aerobic per day is a must to keep your heart healthy," added Ghei.
In cardiology cases, we need to focus more on avail ability, accessibility and af fordability. "We have to go and build brick by brick. At least
10 % of GDP should be spent on healthcare, besides upgradation of at least 100 more hospitals like AIIMS. Also, telemedicines should be harnessed, for 80 % of our population has mobile phones," said Dr Balram Bhargava, Sr Consultant, Department of Cardiology, Cardiothoracic Sciences Centre and Executive Director, Satndford India Biodesign Centre, AIIMS. Anshu Prakash, Principal Secretary (Health and Family Welfare), Govt of NCT of Delhi, said: "First thing is affordability which is different for different individuals. But before anything, it's always prevention. The most important aspect one should focus upon is the health check up, which we all must get done at regularly to diagnose the disease at the initial stage itself."
Three hours is the maximum time period to evacuate the patient and perform treatment on the heart patient. The government needs to create more healthcare facilities. In India, we have cheaper treatment procedures as compared to any other country. "The problem is we are not focusing on generic drugs. If we produce more on them, quality checks could be conducted in a better way," added Prakash.
The next session focused of advancements and future applications of medical technology in health. It dwelled on bringing modern health technology to people by encouraging innovations related to diagnostics, treatment methods as well as prevention in terms of vaccines. "Innovations should be encouraged more in the health sector. Innovations in drugs and vaccines can change the paradigm of health sector in India," said Dr Naresh Trehan, Chief Cardiologist and Chairman, Medanta – The Medicity.
India does not have good quality regulatory bodies to access medical procedures and equipments which is why people do not have confidence in products and procedures being made here. "People want to have foreign stamped or world known branded medical devices for they are established ones and tried and tested," said Seth.
According to Amit Kumar, Regional Director and GM, South East and South Asia, Abbott Healthcare, "India needs to have novel technology in the medical field. India has caliber and skills to manufacture medical devices. What perhaps is missing is the enabling environment in terms of competent suppliers. As far as intel lectual property is concerned it can always be acquired. We need to scale up in terms of technology and support from government is most important.
As per Dr H. S. Rissam, Di rector Clinical Cardiac Sciences and Senor Interventional Car diologist, Max Heart & Vascu lar Institute and Member Board of Governor, Medical Council of India,"Government must give free land and cut down on custom charges on medical de vices. Government must en courage the private sector to come and play its role. The PPP model should be encouraged for the advancement Indian med ical industry; future lies with the private players," said Ris sam.