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Manmohan Singh proposes launch of integrated National Health Mission

July 1, 2012 - Puducherry

The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, has indicated that his government plans to launch an integrated National Health Mission and also pep up the National Urban Health Mission (NUHM).

Disclosing this while addressing the convocation of Jawaharlal Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER), a deemed university in Puducherry, Dr. Singh said that the proposal for an exclusive package for urban areas would be reckoned in right earnest after assessing the achievements and drawbacks of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM).

He observed that health indicators in India continue to be poor and high mortality rates of infants and pregnant women have been a cause of serious concern.

In context of this, the NRHM has shown that health indicators can be improved with concerted focus on public health systems at primary and secondary levels, Singh noted.

"We are now proposing a new National Urban Health Mission in order to focus on the health challenges in our towns and our cities," he said.

He informed that the NRHM would continue for five more years on the basis of its assessment.

He also said that the Unified Health Mission (UHM) is expected to bridge the gaps in scarcity of medical practitioners in the country.

"I do hope that we will be able to launch a unified National Health Mission. Ladies and gentlemen the scarcity of doctors, nurses, health workers, public health professionals, is emerging as one of the most important impediments to providing universal health coverage, or this shortage is acute in our rural areas. And in particular, in the northern, central and eastern regions of our country," added Singh.

Further he noted that against desirable criteria of one doctor per 1,000 population and three nurses per doctor, the country has one doctor per 2,000 people and three nurses for every two doctors.

Citing these aspects, he highlighted the need for UHM as vital entity in both the public and private sectors of health care in India.

The Prime Minister observed that there was the need for the federal governments to work together in the field of health care and achieve the goals.

"The center (federal) and the state governments, particularly the state governments of the underserved regions, need to put their heads together, prepare strategies and implement urgent measures, to remedy the situation. I am very happy that under the guidance of Ghulam Nabi Azad, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is paying increasing attention in filling up these gaps," said Singh.

Referring to the deteriorating standards in medical education, Singh said that there is a need to take a serious look at the curriculum so that doctors are trained to look at health in a holistic manner.

He revealed that his government is determined try its best to open more of quality medical colleges at par with the country's premier All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in different parts of India.

Plans to construct six New Delhi-based AIIMS-like institutions in different cities of the country are already afoot and expected to become functional by 2014.


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