5 Sep :The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, launched Apollo Reach Hospitals, a concept that will take world-class healthcare to semi-urban and rural India, in Chennai today. Following is the text of the Prime Minister’s address on the occasion:
“I am happy to be here on the occasion of the launch of Apollo Reach Hospitals, a major healthcare initiative taken by Apollo in their 25th year.
For me, this is also a moment of personal satisfaction. I was among those who tried to persuade Dr. Pratap C. Reddy to return to India and use his professional expertise to make a difference here. It is gratifying to see how through his visionary leadership and enterprise, the Apollo group has grown to provide quality health care to so many of our people.
The challenge of providing health care in a country like India is complex. Good health outcomes are not simply a matter of availability of health care providers. They depend on a number of concomitant factors like water supply and sanitation, education, and infant nutrition. The intricate connection between poverty and ill-health is obvious and as Jawaharlal Nehru said, “a war on disease and ill health is therefore essentially a war on poverty and all its evil brood”. Along with education and employment, health has been a major priority of our government in the last four years. We have tried to address the serious deficiencies in the rural public health system through the National Rural Health Mission. I am happy to say that the Mission is beginning to show positive results on the ground. These must be consolidated.
The challenge of providing affordable quality health care to our people cannot be left only to the state. The private sector has always played a dominant role in the provision of health care services in the country. The nature of private health care provisioning in India is extremely diverse. It ranges from the village level provider of alternative systems of medicine to high quality specialty hospitals. This entire range of societal capacity created in the health sector is something that we need to build on.
I understand that Apollo Reach Hospitals will ensure provision of reliable, efficient and accessible community health care in the non metro regions of the state. I am sure that this innovative model, which has tele-medicine at its core and integrates technology with the provision of health care, would be an ideal example of how an effective outreach programme can be planned and implemented. I congratulate Dr. Pratap Reddy and his team for designing this community service programme. Competence and commitment that mark the Apollo group of hospitals will now reach a much larger group of people. May such efforts multiply.
Dr. Pratap Reddy is a role model for many in the medical fraternity who aspire to emulate his example. There is today a surge of interest among Indians settled abroad to come back to set up health facilities in India. The Indian opportunity has excited professional interest in the medical community and this augurs well for the country.
I wish the new venture all success. I hope it will mark a new beginning in reaching out to the unserved and the underserved in the area of health services.”