Adoption of new technology, advancement of robotic surgery and better patient care facilities will be key to enhance the medical care services in Nashik. Dr. Raj Nagarkar, MD & Chief of Surgical Oncology & Robotic Services, HCG Manavata Cancer Centre, shares his views on the future of medical science and the potential transformation of Nashik
Please highlight some key milestones for HCG Manavata in 2022?
2022 was a good year for HCG Manavata as we treated more than 7000 new patients, 35000 follow up patients , and successfully performed over 3000+ surgeries. This included 200+ robotic surgeries and 379 micro vascular surgeries with 100% flap success rates. We also extended our services to the Shahpur area in the local district. In addition, we got covered in International and national publications, participated in various awards and academic engagements and bagged a host of awards. Riding on this momentum we get into 2023 with gusto and hope to fulfil yet another set of milestones this year.
What are your budget expectations this year, for the healthcare sector
With the increasing burden of cancer patients, many of whom are still young, our aim should be to provide newer advanced technology and therapy in health care to the majority of our population. 70-80% of healthcare is still taken care of by private hospitals. Government initiatives like Ayushman and Jeevandayee schemes have helped in penetrating the healthcare services into the hinterlands of the country but going forward we need to find a way to involve services from private hospitals and doctors in these government schemes for greater impact and long-term sustainability and value.
Cancer has been rampant over the last few years. Can you give a broad perspective on why there is a rise in cancer cases in India
The sedentary lifestyle, erratic work-life balance, stress, rising addiction of tobacco and other drugs, and unhealthy habits are key reasons for worsening health rate in India. On the other hand, technology advancement and improving healthcare facilities beyond metros have improved the diagnosis and early detection of cancer cases, leading to implementation of timely medical care. But considering that we have a young population, the rising cases of cancer amongst the youth is a serious concern.
India has a young population and it’s important we keep them healthy. So what is your suggestion to the youth of India?
India has the highest work force in the world with 29% of our population in the working age group. So we have the opportunity to become an economic superpower. But the strength of any country is the health of its youth and so it is imperative for us as a nation to promote healthy lifestyle and wellbeing for your people. Youth need to lead a balanced and healthy lifestyle, reduce exposure to chemicals and radiations, reduce the intake of tobacco and other vices. One must also focus on mental wellness, and destress regularly to ease body and mind. A healthy youth is a healthy nation and a prosperous one.
What are the plans for Manavata for 2023 -24?
Steadfast in our commitment towards providing quality cancer care, we plan to expand our services and will be starting a 350 bed – multispeciality hospital as KIMS Manavata hospital to provide non-oncology superspeciality services. Here the major focus will be on Cardiology, Neurology, Gastrointestinal services, transplant, Orthopaedic and mother n child care. The launch and getting the hospital fully operational will be the key milestone for this year and next.
How important is technology evolving the Healthcare sector?
Artificial intelligence and meta verse is no longer science fiction. It is a reality today and acceptance in healthcare is faster than expected. It is involved in multiple aspects of healthcare with promising outcomes.
What are your other goals for 2023?
We plan to start an outreach program in Uzbekistan, Bangladesh and Africa. We are looking at developing Nashik as a preferred destination of choice for healthcare services. Nashik has a geographical advantage of location and is blessed with excellent climate. In addition, the ongoing infrastructural development will create good connectivity and make Nashik accessible to all the rest of the country.
Healthcare is improving across Tier 2-3 markets. What is your view on this?
It is imperative that quality healthcare services reach cities beyond the metros, to improve the overall healthcare index of the country. The improving healthcare infrastructure in the Tier 2-3 cities is helping in providing timely and better patient care and better clinical outcomes to patients, especially during the golden hours. Accessibility to newer technology and best practices will also help doctors to keep pace with modern equipment and follow protocol driven practices.
What innovations do you expect to see in healthcare over the next 5 years
The new-age technology like artificial intelligence, meta verse, HoloLens has brought the world closer. Technology advances including 5G will help personalised health care being delivered more uniformly across all sections of the society. Because of our population there always will be some demand supply issues which will be bridged by technology. But these accomplishments will only be meaningful if we remain empathetic and holistic