President of India Ram Nath Kovind on the occasion to mark the Centenary Celebrations of Medical Education programme of Christian Medical College, revived the memories of pitiable health conditions in India during the Colonial rule and compared it to the advances New India is making in terms of creating state of the art healthcare infrastructure in tandem with its economic progress since independence.
President of India Ram Nath Kovind at the inauguration of the Centenary Celebrations of Christian Medical College (CMC), at Vellore, in Tamil Nadu on May 04, 2018.
“India under colonial rule had most people live in tough conditions. Health indices were very poor. Average life expectancy was just about 24 years. One person died every minute of tuberculosis. One in four babies died in the first year. Cholera, smallpox and polio – several epidemics and diseases were rampant. Independence was still a dream. It was in such an India that Ida Sophia Scudder devoted her life to healthcare. In 1918, she set up a medical school that was initially open only to women. From 1947, both girls and boys began to study here. I am happy to be in Vellore for this event to mark the Centenary of Medical Education at the Christian Medical College. I congratulate the institution, which is ranked third among all medical colleges in India as per the Ministry of Human Resource Development, government of India. I also convey my best wishes to the students and faculty members of CMC Vellore, both past and present, as well as the doctors, researchers and administrators. Your institution and its achievements are a matter of pride for the entire country.”
India has come a long way since then, opined Kovind. “Revolutions in our economy, in agriculture and in technology have changed how we act, think and live. Inevitably, our health outcomes have also improved. Average life expectancy is now above 68 years. Diseases such as polio and smallpox, which once claimed so many lives, have been defeated. Our immunisation programme is gaining strength. The government has launched Mission Indradhanush primarily to target hard-to-access areas and ensure all children benefit from immunisation,” he added.
Primary and secondary healthcare facilities have undergone a change for the better, and in this context it must be said the state of Tamil Nadu has exceptional health indicators and remains a model for our country, confessed Kovind.
India has to reduce maternal and infant mortality as well as communicable diseases such as tuberculosis, vector-borne diseases such as malaria, water-borne diseases such as cholera, diarrhoeal diseases, and vaccine-preventable diseases like measles and tetanus. Also, India has to find an answer to the rise in non-communicable or lifestyle diseases – like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and many cancers. “We need to develop systems to detect and cope with new and re-emerging infectious diseases like HIV, avian flu and H1N1 influenza. In a globalised world, with people travelling in and out of our country in larger and larger numbers, a few small cases can very quickly scale up into a large outbreak,” said Kovind.