Friday, February 11, 2011

Taking care of healthcare


Govt plans to provide a comprehensive health scheme to 650 districts in 12th Plan

Sopan Correspondent / Hyderabad

The government plans to extend the National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke to all the 650 districts of the country under the 12th Five Year Plan.

Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad has said the programme was already being implemented in 100 most-backward and remote districts spread across 21 states. The implementation in these districts will continue till 2012. "Depending on the success of the programme, all 650 districts in the country will be covered under the 12th Plan," Azad said in his inaugural address at the conference of health ministers of the states.

The two-day conference assessed the progress under various schemes and drew up an action plan for the rest of the 11th plan (2007-12) and road map for the 12th Plan. The conference focused on issues like education in maternal and infant mortality rates, population stabilisation, prevention and control of infectious diseases, national vector-borne disease control programme, revised national TB control programme and strengthening of disease surveillance systems. About 25 ministers of health, medical education and family welfare from all the states attended the conference.

Azad said despite the achievements made under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), there were still areas of concern. "The pace of decline in various key health indicators like maternal mortality ratio, infant mortality rate, total fertility rate, death and morbidity due to communicable diseases have not improved as compared to pre-NRHM period," the minister said.

Complimenting the southern and western states for their excellent performance, the health minister asked central, eastern, northeastern and north Indian states to identify the bottlenecks in the implementation of the schemes and improve the performance. "Only then we can press for continuation of the NRHM which is currently up to 11th plan only. We can also convince the planning commission for higher outlay during the 12th plan period so as to achieve the MDGs (Millennium Development Goals)," he said.

He pointed out that the Indian government has provided Rs 53,000 crore to the states under NRHM in the last six years.

"One of the success stories of the last year was progress of polio eradication after the introduction of bivalent polio vaccine. There have been only 42 cases in 2010 as compared to nearly 700 cases in 2009. In the case of TB, we have achieved more than 72 per cent detection rate and 87 per cent cure rate, which are more than the WHO (World Health Organization) recommended levels," Azad said.

Referring to HIV, he said the new annual infections have declined by more than 50 per cent over the past decade while most of the countries are showing increasing trend. Azad said the government was formulating the National Urban Health Mission which would take care of infrastructure needs at district and sub-divisional levels.

The meeting passed a comprehensive resolution for enhancement of the healthcare facilities in the country and also drew a roadmap to meet the same. To bring down maternal and child mortality, it was decided that it would be made mandatory for posting one doctor and one nurse at each PHC by 31st March 2012. In addition, full antenatal care of the pregnant mothers will be ensured, tracking system would also be in place to ensure, safe delivery, post natal care and immunization of children. Blood banks at all district hospitals and blood storage facilities at sub-divisional hospitals would be set up by December 2012 and there would be free delivery services to pregnant women in Government health facilities, so that they do not incur any out of pocket expenses

Recognising the dangers of tobacco misuse, a fact brought out by the latest Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) that 26 per cent of all adults use smokeless forms of tobacco (gutkha, khaini, etc.) all state governments resolved to chalk out a plan for an awareness/education campaign aimed at that segment of the population which is most vulnerable.

The realisation of the problems of the elderly was an important outcome of the deliberations. In view of increased incidence of cases of illness and neglect of elderly persons, especially in towns and cities, state governments and municipal corporations will be asked to allot land for construction of Geriatric Homes and hospital for elderly.

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