The delegates attending the 18th International Congress of Rural Health and Medicine on the theme ‘Challenges for Rural Health in the Global Village’ on Wednesday adopted the Goa Declaration calling for framing of policies that would provide better healthcare for the people across the globe.
The declaration also states that health was more than a medical issue and there was a need for a new global vision for health that would build on the millennium development goals (MDGs) and connect to future development goals. The vision, based on countries’ needs, should be translated into clear goals, expected results, and guiding principles for its implementation.
Women’s and children’s health is also a rights issue and closely interlinked with the empowerment of women and girls and that health must be brought out of isolation. The impact of issues as climate change and the direct effects it has on people’s health need discussion.
Medical and health research needs to be augmented so that the current situation of 90 per cent of total funds being spent on 10 per cent of diseases is reversed.
There is a dire need to address community needs and communities need to be empowered and engaged, bring people back at the centre of the debate. The aim of medical education should be to facilitate application of medical technology for providing best care to the poor at the most affordable cost.
It was also stated that declaration should focus on social accountability, involvement and empowerment of communities; resource allocation and expansion of the healthcare system to cover rural population through primary health care approach,
training and education for rural health professionals to meet the need of rural people in particular women, children, the aged and migrant agricultural workers and their families.
The declaration also called for making the policies people-centric and that efforts should be made to integrate traditional medicine with modern medicines. The aim of the policy makers also should be to ensure promotion of healthy child sex ratio and that there should be co-ordination between various ministries dealing with the issues related to health.
The participants also called for proper accountability of funds earmarked for research in the health sector and various schemes for health and family welfare. Dr Ashok Vikhe Patil who read out the Goa Declaration lamented the lack of support to the organisers of international event by the state government, the Goa University and the Goa Medical College.
Dr Syeeda Hameed, member (health) of the Planning Commission of India, who was the chief guest at the valedictory function described the Goa Declaration as a comprehensive declaration that was in consonance with the twelfth Five Year Plan, which aims at inclusive growth. She said that concerns expressed by the participants were good. [NT]