Health Wishlist: Here’s what Pune is wishing for in 2024

Improving traffic control to reduce accidents in the city, creating a supportive environment for doctors in all hospitals, making insurance rules clearer, and increasing the number of beds in government hospitals are among the top priorities on the medical community’s wish list for 2024. In addition there is a growing emphasis on developing strategies to mitigate birth defects, address obesity-related issues and ageing problems.

Better traffic, fewer accidents

Dr Chetan Pradhan, Associate Medical Director and head of trauma care at Sancheti Hospital underlines the need for better traffic management that can help bring down the number of accidents in Pune, as well as increasing the network of free ambulance service 108 to cover the entire city and peripheral areas. “We also need a fearless atmosphere for doctors who feel sandwiched between legal concerns and hostile relatives,” Dr Pradhan adds. The orthopaedic surgeon has also flagged concerns about the need for standardisation, transparency in insurance rules and government schemes ‘to ensure benefits reach the needy and not just those who have political access.’

More paediatric surgeons

“Every day 3,000 children are born in India with birth defects, having a cumulative impact if left untreated,” says Pune-based Dr Dasmit Singh, Professor and Head, Department of Pediatric Surgery, B J Government Medical College. Dr Singh who is the immediate past president, Indian Association of Pediatric Surgeons emphasises the critical need for pediatric surgeons across the country. “These services play a pivotal role in reducing infant mortality and hence our focus remains on bolstering pediatric surgery services nationwide with a hash tag #IndiaNeedsPediatricSurgeons in every district.” he says.

Treat obesity as a disease

Dr Shashank Shah, Pune based bariatric surgeon points out that physical inactivity and aging are associated with obesity. “My concern is that people should take obesity as a disease and not treat it on their own by ad-hoc diets and exercise,” Dr Shah who is the former President of Obesity and Metabolic Surgery Society of India adds.

More beds in govt hospitals; 24/7 grievance redressal cell for patients

Pune based Dr Avinash Bhondwe, former President of Indian Medical Association (Maharashtra) is passionate about each citizen getting proper medical treatment.”Health should be a priority,” says Dr Bhondwe who feels that bed strength in government-run hospitals is insufficient. “A sizable chunk of the population has to avail medical treatment at private healthcare facilities and most of them can’t afford it. Considering the rise in population we need more government-run hospitals here,” Dr Bhondwe urges.

With more than 600 private hospitals in Pune, city-based Dr Abhay Shukla who is the national co-convenor of Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, hopes that in 2024 each of these healthcare facilities is able to display the charter of patients’ rights and list of charges as legally mandated in Maharashtra Nursing Homes Registration Act. “The grievance redressal cell for patients should also be made fully functional 24/7 across all hospitals,” he says.

The government should compulsorily take up vaccination drives for the adolescent age group against diseases like rubella and cervical cancer. These vaccines are important in averting life-threatening diseases such as cervical cancer. There should also be zero tolerance of violence against doctors, and stern measures must be promptly enforced against the errant lot, says Dr Sunita Tandulwadkar, Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India- President-Elect 2025.