The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has released its ‘Health Manifesto’ and urged all political parties to give priority to the health sector. The IMA manifesto contains various suggestions to improve public health, change policy directions, streamline medical education and improve medical research. “There is insufficient funding in the healthcare sector and the GDP in healthcare is at a dismal rate of 1.2 percent. The out of pocket expenditure is one of the highest for our country and every year over 3.3 percent of people are pushed below the poverty line due to expenditure on health,” said IMA president Dr Santanu Sen here on Monday. “In order to improve the overall healthcare sector and cope up with the out of pocket expenses, the GDP must be increased to at least 5 percent,” added Dr Sen.
He said that the IMA will soon launch a countrywide ‘Health First Campaign’ to propagate the manifesto amongst the candidates, political parties and the public. The local units of IMA will conduct public meetings and seminars in which the candidates for the ensuing Lok Sabha elections will also be invited. “The primary and preventive care should be given top priority. Wellness centers have to be reconceived and they have to be manned by MBBS graduates,” said Dr R V Asokan, Secretary-General, IMA. “MBBS doctors are ready to work in rural areas and IMA can facilitate the availability of manpower to the primary care centers. There should be recruitment boards to recruit MBBS graduates for primary care,” he added. – Business Standard