Puducherry: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Saturday said the government is proposing a new National Urban Health Mission to focus on the health challenges of people in towns and cities while it would continue the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) for another five years.Delivering his address at the third convocation of the Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER) here, Singh said: "Our government has decided to continue the National Rural Health Mission for the next five years. We are now proposing a new National Urban Health Mission in order to focus on the health challenges in our towns and our cities."Referring to NRHM introduced seven years back with the challenges of high mortality rates of infants, pregnant women and where two thirds of health expenditure is met by people, Singh expressed satisfaction that "the scheme has shown that health indicators can be improved with concerted focus on public health systems at primary and secondary levels"."Infant and maternal mortality rates have fallen and institutional deliveries have increased. But much more needs to be done and there is a large unfinished agenda of providing affordable healthcare for all our people," he remarked.According to the prime minister, the challenge for policy makers in India is ensuring the proper development of various segments in the healthcare system.He said in India both public and private sector is present in the health sector and he is hopeful of launching a unified National Health Mission.Citing the shortage of doctors and para medical personnel in the country, he said the shortfall is acute in rural and more particularly in north, central and eastern regions of India."The centre and the state governments, particularly state governments of the under-served regions, need to put their heads together, prepare strategies and implement urgent measures to remedy the situation," he urged.
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