Healthcare for all not possible with the present budget

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In his speech when presenting the budget, the Finance Minister said that health for all and education for all is his priority but the budget allocation is only Rs. 37330 crores, which is an increase of only 7.5% in the last years allocation (planned and non-planned budget together). Medical fraternity expected it to be at least 2-3% of the GDP. Even allocation to AYUSH is only 1069 crores against 1650 crores allocated to six AIIMS-like institutions. If the Government really wanted to do something for promoting healthcare, they could have allocated for six AIIMS-like AYUSH institutions whose purpose should have been prevention so that people do not require allopathic tertiary care.

There are no tax holidays or tax exemptions for doctors living in rural areas in the present budge. Also, there was no relief for making VISA easy for medical tourism.

The Rs. 110 crores allocated for disability is not sufficient. Rs. 6000 crores should have been allocated for providing free generic drugs for people coming to government hospitals. This announcement was lacking in the budget.

Rs. 150 crores have been allocated for the care of the elderly, who constitute 8% of the total population. Elderly people usually do not have insurance as insurance companies do not give them a cover. At least 8% of the total health budget should have been allocated for the elderly.

Allocations to National Health Mission (NHM) (which covers both rural and urban population budget) is only Rs. 21200 crores, which is less than the amount used last year for which rural mission. It aims to provide urban mission money from the money received from the rural mission project. Separate budget should have been allocated for the urban mission.

Rs. 4727 crores allocated for training, education and research is also inadequate as unless you patent your own equipments and drugs, you are going to be dependent on foreign market.

India Medical Association in its recent meeting with Economic Advisor, Ministry of Health, Government of India had offered that every private doctor should be incorporated for providing healthcare facilities across the country, where the Government only had to invest on the human resource.

The government can start MD in Rural Medicine with a curriculum that teaches the art of treating the patients in limited resources. After that people can choose and do their respective post graduation. This way the doctors will not feel that it is a burden on them. There will be additional degree in MD in Rural Medicine Surgery. Such doctors serving in rural areas should be given income tax-free income.

Should I go for a knee replacement?

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Yes if

1. I am no longer able to do my routine work without help

2.  I have pain that keeps me awake at night despite the use of drugs

3. I have pain that keeps me from being able to walk or bend over

4. I have pain that isn’t relieved by rest

5. I have pain that is not responding to non-surgical approaches.

6. I have been told that less-complicated surgical procedures are unlikely to help.

7.  The disease osteoarthritis is wearing me down physically, emotionally, and mentally.

8. I am suffering from severe side effects from the drugs

9. Advanced arthritis is demonstrated on my test

10. If significant joint damage has occurred on my tests.

Issues: Why we must unite and oppose many of the MCI amendments

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1. Why only four years and two terms?  Why is this clause not for Members of Parliament, Chief Ministers and Prime Ministers?

2. Why re-registration every 10 years? Why all this against allopathic profession? Re-registration will mean compulsory CME and that would mean start of paid costly CMEs in long run, just as in the United States. Why are other medical profession pathies spared?

3. Medical profession is already included under CPA.

4. On one hand, it is said that doctors should not advertise, commercialize, or indulge in marketing but they come under the purview of the CPA. Why this double-edged sword against doctors?

5. The Govt. is coming out with BSc community health courses as parallel to allopathic system. They could have instead strengthened the existing MBBS courses or started MD courses in every rural district or they could have started compulsory 2-year MD Rural Health after MBBS in a rural area.

6. Why has the Govt. not declared Dr B C Roy National awards for the past many years after 2008?

7. Why do the powers of removal of the president lie with the government?  Can the President of India remove the Prime Minister? It’s the court or the parliament which decides the course of action. Such powers with the government will make the MCI elected body ineffective. In democracy, it is the elected body, which elects the president or the vice president. Only they have the powers to remove them. Removal of office should be the jurisdiction of the Courts and not the government. If such clause is not removed, then the office bearers will never work with freedom but will always be under the pressure of the government.

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