Hit by huge shortage of health personnel, the government is set to provide financial help to state governments to start a medical college in each of 626 districts of India.
A planning commission committee had pointed out that huge shortage of medical staff in rural India was crippling public health services in te villages.
One has to pay around 71% of health expenses from his or her own pocket resulting in impoverishment, the panel said.
The panel had also pointed out that graduates of medical colleges in urban areas were not willing to work in rural India leading to the shortage.
Government data reveals that there is one doctor in the country for every 2,000 people with around 8.56 lakh doctors in the country.
The vacancies are on the rise in new health centers set up in rural India under the National Rural Health Mission.
In a bid to overcome the shortage which is expected to rise to around 50% in next four years, the UPA government would soon be announcing a scheme to set up a medical college linked with every district level hospital.
“It will help to cope with the urgent requirement of medical staff in rural India,” said a senior government official, adding that it will also help in reducing out of pocket health expenses to 50%.
Government officials said that in addition to providing health education, these medical colleges would also be used to train accredited social health activists (ASHAs) and anganwadi workers to improve the health parameters in the rural areas.
“Medical education should be made responsible for the health of the population in the catchment area,” an official said, explaining that main focus of the new scheme, which is expected to cost the Central government around Rs 20,000 crore in the next four years.
The government is expected to announce the new scheme at a meeting of the planning commission presided by the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to finalise the 12th five year plan in August.