New programs to improve healthcare delivery: Azad

The Centre has launched new national programmes for control of cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, stroke, sports injury and health of the elderly.

Updated: Jan 05, 2011, 17:19 PM IST

Thiruvananthapuram: With a view to radically
improving healthcare delivery system in the country, the Centre has launched new national programmes for control of
cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, stroke, sports
injury and health of the elderly, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Ghulam Nabi Azad said on Wednesday.

Inaugurating the new super-specialty block built as part
of the upgradation work of the Government Medical College here
under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY), he
said the Health Ministry had also taken steps to augment human
resources in health sector.

The government expected an overall increase of 10,000
medical post graduate seats in the next two years with several
relaxations in rules for running medical colleges.

The ministry was currently running a Rs 1,350 scheme to
strengthen and upgrade medical colleges for starting new PG
courses, which was expected to add 4,000 PG seats to existing
pool. Systematic efforts were also being made to bring the
doctor-patient ratio from 1:2000 to 1:1000, Azad said.

The government had relaxed the requirement of land for
opening of medical colleges from 25 acres to 20 acres. To
address the problem of shortage of faculty in medical
colleges, the maximum age for appointment had been increased
from 65 to 70 in private colleges.

Amendments had also been made in MCI regulations for
allowing DNB professionals as medical faculty. Another change
in MCI rules was to allow more medical seats to existing
colleges. Colleges which had 1,000-bed hospital and required
faculty could apply for upto 250 seats, he said.

In order to tackle brain drain, the government had also
recognised PG degrees obtained from foreign countries like
USA, UK, Canada, New Zealand and Australia.

To increase availability of doctors in rural areas, MCI
rules had been changed to provide 50 percent reservation of
seats in PG diploma medical courses for medical officers
working in designated rural areas for three years. Additional
marks for each year of rural attachment would also be given to
candidates appearing for PG medical entrance tests.

On the new initiatives for control of various diseases,
Azad said Rs 1,230 crore had been set apart for the national
programme for prevention and control of cancer, diabetes,
cardiovascular diseases and stroke. Of this, the cancer
component would come around Rs 730 crore.

The Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) conducted by the
Health Ministry in 2010 had revealed that more than 35 percent
of adults in India used tobacco in some form or other. Among
them, 21 percent used smokeless tobacco, 9 percent smoked,
while 5 percent smoked and used smokeless tobacco, he said.

Innovation and research were crucial to improve
healthcare delivery system and the three key problems to be
addressed in the sector were quality, accessibility and
affordability, he said.

Azad said there should be greater co-operation between
Centre and states to counter the challenges thrown by spread
of communicable diseases.

Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan, who inaugurated the new
Outpatient Block at the Medical College, said Kerala had made
tremendous progress in the health sector. Besides the medical
college in Thiruvananthapuram, facilities in four other
colleges were being improved.

A total of 115 community health centres had been
developed to match national standards. Adequate number of
doctors and paramedical staff had been appointed in various
hospitals, he said. State Health Minister P K Sreemathi
presided over the function.

The facilities at the Thiruvananthapuram medical college
were upgraded under the PMSSY at a cost of Rs 120 crore with
the centre contributing Rs 100 crore. The remaining Rs 20
crore was state government`s share.