22 July : The Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare has announced whistle blower policy to attract involvement of public to provide information on any kind of unlawful activity in the manufacture of drugs. Replying to the debate on working of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare in Rajya Sabha today the Minister also apprised the members of Government’s intention to bring Drugs and Cosmetic Amendment Bill for creating Central Drug Authority. “This will pave the way for making the regulatory mechanism a robust one,” the Minister said.
Speaking on the concern of inadequate public expenditure on health Shri Azad said that it is only through a partnership of Central and State governments that the objective of 2-3% of GDP public expenditure on health can be achieved. However, the Minister assured ‘to strive to provide even higher education for health care to provide quality services to the poor households of our country.’
The Minister also stressed the need to re-engineer the universal immunization programme in a manner that every child can be reached with quality services and through a reliable and sustainable supply chain management. He also said that as per the President’s address to the joint session of Parliament vaccine producing units in the public sector will be revived to support the immunization programme. The Minister indicated an action plan to revive production of DPT group of vaccines at CRI Kasauli where the project will be completed by 30th June 2010. Project reports are being prepared for revival of BCG Guindy and PII Coonoor. The project reports are expected to be submitted by 15 August 2009.
The Minister said that National Rural Health Mission, in partnership with states is completely revamping the primary health care system in India. Citing the reduction in maternal mortality rate and infant mortality rate and improvement in institutional deliveries, Shri Azad assured the Members that the efforts made under NRHM in partnership with the states will lead to even larger reduction in IMR and MMR. ‘Public health is a marathon and not a sprint and with the cooperation of Hon’ble Members and the state governments, India can achieve the national goals that it has set for itself under NRHM’, Shri Azad said.
On medical and dental education the Health Minister shared the concern for high capitation fee. He said that setting up medical and nursing educational institutions wherever there is significant case load and facilities would go a long way in improving access to medical and nursing education to fulfill the human resource gap. In pursuance of its 100 days agenda for the health sector the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has resolved to formulate a comprehensive medium and long-term policy within next three months for meeting the deficiencies of human resources in health sector. A Task Force has been constituted to look into the issue of setting up of National Council for Health Resources.
Speaking about the health research in the country the Health Minister said that a separate department of health research in the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare will lead to streamlining of health research. Department of Health Research aims at bringing modern health technology to people by encouraging innovations related to diagnostics, treatment methods as well as prevention vaccines; translating the innovations into products/processes by facilitating evaluation/testing in synergy with other departments of Ministry of Health & Family Welfare as well as other science departments and introducing these innovations into public health service through operations research.
The Minister said that Indian systems of medicine are getting a new fillip through various efforts of Department of AYUSH. For Ayush education there is a proposal to upgrade nine state government Ayush educational institutions into All India Institutes/National Institutes. In order to ensure quality of products the Department is actively engaged with developing a scheme for quality assurance in collaboration with Quality Council of India. There is a plan to operationalise integrated institute of Homoeopathy and Ayurveda within the campus of North-Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences (NEIGRIHMS) at Shillong. There is a plan to train 1000 Ayurveda doctors under Guru Shishya Parampara Scheme and 5000 doctors of all systems by Rashtriya Ayurveda Vidyapeeth this year.
In a wide ranging reply the Minister talked about public expenditure in health, accessibility of health care, NRHM, Janani Suraksha Yojana, Health Infrastructure and Human Resources, Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana, Immunisation, Communicable Diseases, National AIDS Control Programme, Non-Communicable Diseases, National Tobacco Control Programme, National Mental Health Programme, Mental and Dental Education, Health Research, Strengthening of Hospitals, National Network of Trauma Centres within estimated expenditure of 732.75 crores and strides in the field of Indian system of medicine.