The Central government will be setting up 50 new government medical colleges. It will also set up a National Cancer Institute (NCI),20 state cancer institutes,including one in Gujarat,and 50 tertiary cancer institutes across the country. The proposals were given a go-ahead by the Union Cabinet a week ago and all these projects are likely to become functional in the next two-three years.
NCI,to be set up near Delhi at an expected cost of Rs 2,200 crore,is billed as the biggest investment in health sector by the Union government so far. Besides,a decision to set up one national para-medical institute and eight regional paramedical institutes in the next two years had also been taken. Giving these informations at a press conference here on Saturday,Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said that these initiatives had been taken to produce more human resources,like doctors and paramedical staff,as also set up infrastructures to tackle and face the future health-related challenges.
Quoting from World Health Organisation (WHO) report,Azad said that diabetes,heart and kidney diseases were to dominate all the dieseases in the world in the next 15-20 years and India would be having the largest number of them because of its population. And,hence,these initiatives by the Union government.
To ensure that India did not face shortage of doctors,Azad said that his ministry brought changes in the Medical Council of India (MCI) rules,increasing the strength of seats by 50 per cent for MBBS courses and by 75 per cent for MD and other postgraduate courses in medical colleges in the country. Apart from this,he said that his ministry spent Rs 1,11,000 crore in the last four years for uprgradation and setting up of 51,000 district hospitals,community and primary health centres in the country in the last four years.
A total of 19 government hospitals in the country,he said,had been converted into super-speciality centres in the last 10 years and another 39 were in the process of being converted into super-speciality hospitals. According to him,his ministry sanctioned six All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in the last four years and they would be fully functional by the end of this year.
As for Gujarat,Azad said that the Union government contributed Rs 4,164 crore for health services under National Rural Health Mission in the last four years and another Rs 608 crore for 2013-14. A total of 991 hospitals,including primary health centres,community health centres and district level hospitals,were upgraded in the state from funds provided by the centre,he said.
Azad said that the Central government also provided funds for the appointment of 32,000 ASHA workers in Gujarat to take care of pregnant women in rural areas. He said that the Cenrtre also set up Janani Shishu Suraksha Yojana to provide free medical facilities to pregnant women and the new-born children,inclduing free ambulance services from the time the women was examined to be pregnant to the time when she delivered the baby in a govenrment hospital. According to him,over 3 crore pregnancies took place in India every year.
He said that the Union government had also launched a scheme to provide an assistance of Rs 10 lakh for specialised treatment for liver,heart,kidney and cancer for BPL card holders. However,he complained that some state governments,including Gujarat,had been projecting these as state governments programmes. In Gujarat,this programme has been christened as Mukhya Mantri Arogya.
Meanwhile,Azad also said that he was against medical insurance. He said that the medical insurance in private hands did not benefit the patient but filled the coffers of private hospitals.