Union health ministry’s initiative to invite doctors with foreign medical degrees to teach in Indian medical Colleges is a success, with several senior doctors applying as faculty.
The post-graduate medical degrees of five countries— United States of America, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, have been recognized by the ministry to recruit senior doctors as faculty. The ministry also approved one professor for two students in post-graduation to accommodate more medical students.
“Shortage of human resource in medical field, especially faculty, was one of the greyest areas when I took over. My thrust area has been providing quality healthcare by way of capacity building and creating human resource,” said Ghulam Nabi Azad, union health minister.
In last two years, about 250 medical colleges in the country got additional 3625 under-graduate and 7470 post-graduate seats. There has been an overall increase of 50% post-graduate seats, highest in past 60 years. Out of 25 new medical colleges in the pipeline, six All India Institute of Medical Sciences (Aiims)-like hospitals will be functional by October next year.
In new initiatives, the health ministry will provide free medicines and diet for pregnant women in all government hospitals from next month. The move is aimed at bringing under control maternal mortality and infant mortality rate. “The scheme for pregnant women will start from June 1 under which free medicines, free diet during stay in hospitals, and free transport to health facility and back home will be ensured,” said Azad.
In two weeks from now, the health ministry will establish a call centre facility where people will be recruited on a part-time basis in Delhi, to track down immunization figures provided by the states. “Vaccination programme in states is being fully funded by the centre. It is, therefore, required to monitor whether the exercise is being done properly in states or data is being fudged. We’ll maintain a data base with names, numbers and addresses of parents, which will be verified by our staff here. It is to make the system transparent,” added Azad.
One lakh rupees have been allocated for each person undergoing chemotherapy for cancer in government hospitals in 100 districts. The scheme will roll out from next year and is expected to cover 10,000 people. Diagnostic equipment will also be provided to district hospitals for early detection of cancer. The facility of diabetes screening for people above 30 years of age and all pregnant women will be made available at 100 sub-centres, and later extended to the entire country. “This will be the largest exercise in the world, and by next year we will have screened between 20 to 50 crore people,” said Azad.
More than one-lakh Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) workers have been added to the list of 7 lakh to ensure effective implementation of government policies such as distribution of sanitary napkins to 1.4 million girls between 10 years and 19 years in 20 states across states.
Government will soon notify new pictorial warnings on tobacco products, which will be ‘harsher’ in case of chewing tobacco as it has been found more harmful than smoking.
“The Directorate of Visual Publicity have selected some pictures. There will be two types of warnings -- for cigarettes and for smokeless tobacco,” said Azad.