Vice-President Hamid Ansari, on 12 November, asserted that the neglect of healthcare will have a negative impact on India's economy combined with rising population.
He stated that the sovereignty of the nation cannot be ensured unless India has a healthy population.
Addressing the 20th Anniversary Celebrations of CanSupport, an NGO providing palliative care for cancer patients, Ansari said that with more than 1,300 persons succumbing to cancer every day, it has become one of the major causes of deaths India.
The Vice President further said that despite improvements in access to health care, inequalities related to socioeconomic status, geography, and gender continue to remain, and are being compounded by high out-of-pocket expenditures, with more than three-quarters of the increasing financial burden of health care being met by households.
Stating that the lack of sufficient public allocations has resulted in huge demand-supply gaps in cancer detection, treatment and care requirements, he emphasised that responding to palliative care needs of cancer patients requires not only the medical and nursing needs of the person affected but also the patient's emotional and spiritual distress and support for the caregivers.
"For us, health is an issue of national security. We cannot protect the sovereignty of the nation, or ensure sustainable development unless we have a healthy population. We cannot aspire to be a world power when millions do not have access to affordable health care," Ansari said.