`Hardly one per cent of the GDP is allocated to healthcare'
MC Mishra, director of All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi, says that trauma care centres should have efficient pre-hospital service. But prevention of accidents should be on the top of government's priority list. Edited excerpts from interview
How is our healthcare system prepared to take care of casualties related to road accidents?
We must heighten awareness and reduce road accidents. Three per cent of the country's GDP is going to trauma care whereas hardly one per cent of the GDP is allocated to healthcare. Prevention should be our first priority. Then we should think about having a robust trauma care system. At present, it is available but in bits and pieces. We need efficient prehospital service, and trauma and rehabilitation centres.
Is the reporting system of injuries and road accidents in India satisfactory?
At present, injuries are not notified the way polio and other diseases are. We need to have a strong database. The US has a very good reporting system of injuries and road accidents. The country
collects all data related to injuries the way it does for diseases like cancer. This can become possible in India through hospitals or community-based monitoring. It is definitely not easy but certainly not impossible.
Do you think we have enough doctors to deal with trauma care?
No, there is deficiency of both medical and paramedical staff. The problem is not just in India, but across the globe. We cannot provide doctors overnight. It takes 11-and-a-half years to prepare a specialist like neurosurgeon. If we think of getting doctors today, the result may come in 20 to 25 years.
Apart from preparing doctors, what needs to be done to prepare the entire system?
We cannot create stand-alone trauma centres the way AIIMS has; it would neither be feasible nor functionally relevant. If we create stand-alone facilities how will we get a good number of experts? The idea is to designate hospitals, medical college hospitals and institutions as level one, two or three trauma centres based on their facilities.