The minister said India has been free of polio for the second successive year, which is the longest polio-free period since the eradication efforts were launched. “We have stepped up efforts to meet public health challenges such as influenza A, H1N1 pandemic and the credit goes to ICMR and our Indian manufacturers, who have domestically developed testing regents and vaccines to combat H1N1," he said.
Development of indigenous reagents for testing Japanese encephelitis and dengue are also underway.
He said ICMR is currently working on 75 leads of potential public health importance for development and evaluation of affordable diagnostics, including indigenously developed test for diabetes, TB and cancer.
Azad said his ministry, in the last three years, has focused on reforming policies related to medical and paramedical education in order to meet the acute shortage of human resources in the health sector.
"For these several policy decisions the availability of MBBS seats and PG seats will increase by 40 and 80% respectively. I am sure that by next year the increase in MBBS and PG seats will touch 50% and 100% respectively," he added.