Udupi (Karnataka): President Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday said quality healthcare was a necessity for every individual and underlined the need to ensure better infrastructure in rural areas so that doctors serve there.

At the foundation of the Shambhu Shetty Memorial Haji Abdullah Super Speciality Hospital here, the President said quality healthcare was not a luxury any more. It was a necessity.

He pointed out that against the international norm of one doctor per thousand population, the country had one doctor for 1,700 people.

"The situation is more alarming in rural India where the shortage of surgeons is to the tune of 83.4 per cent, obstetricians and gynaecologists to the tune of 76.3 per cent, paediatrics to the tune of 82.1 per cent and general physician to the tune of 83 per cent at the level of the community health centres," Mukherjee said.

"This is compounded by the fact that we educate and train about 50 per cent less doctors than our requirement stands at."

He said the shortage of doctors requires immediate intervention, and laid emphasis on more focus and investments in the field of preventive healthcare.

He called for ample infrastructure at the district and other rural areas and to encourage doctors and practitioners to serve there.

"Over the past 70 years, we have made significant progress in the quality of healthcare."

The President also stressed the need to increase engagement of the corporate sector in public-private partnership in the field of public health, especially in rural areas.

He condemned vandalism and called for cooperation between physicians, doctors, medical personalities and the patients, their friends and relatives.

"Sometimes we find that if a patient dies, the angry mob led by their relatives vandalise the hospital, beat the physician or surgeons. This is not good. No civilised society can tolerate it," he said.

"Yes, doctors can try, medicines can do wonders, but at the same time one has to keep it in mind that there would be deaths. This type of vandalism should be condemned."