India has made healthcare services accessible, affordable: Azad

India has made healthcare services accessible, affordable: Azad
Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Shillong: India has made healthcare services more accessible, affordable and equitable, especially for those living in the remotest parts of the country, the union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said here on Tuesday.

“We are dealing with a complex health environment, persistent communicable diseases, increasing non-communicable diseases and emerging infections in our country,” Azad said at a function in the Meghalaya capital.

Although health is a state subject, the central government has stepped in to make healthcare services accessible, affordable and equitable, especially for the marginalised and vulnerable sections of the population, Azad said at the North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences.

Since the launch of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) seven years ago, substantial progress has been achieved in several areas, he said, adding more than Rs 90,000 crore has been released to 35 state governments and union territories.

New health infrastructure has been created — nearly 43,500 new construction and up-gradation works to improve health facilities, he said.

About 70,000 beds have been increased in the country in government health institutions for the provision of essential and emergency services, added Azad.

He said India has earned accolades for containing polio with the country having been free of polio virus for the past two years.

“India has earned international acclaim for containing polio, with the longest polio-free period ever since eradication efforts were launched. India has been taken off the list of countries with endemic transmission of wild poliovirus,” he said.

He also said there has been significant fall in maternal mortality rate and infant mortality rate.

Azad said India has also seen reduction in new HIV cases by 57 per cent.

The health minister also said that the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi had launched the Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram under which children are screened for disorders, diseases, deficiencies and disabilities from birth up to 18 years.

The programme will cover almost 27 crore people across the country, including 17 crore school going children, he added.

As India faces acute shortage of human resources in health, the health minister said, they have launched a series of reforms, including investing on medical education sector so that the country could produce more medical personnel to meet the growing demand. [IANS

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