Inadequate funds, still Dr. Harsh Vardhan hopeful to give minimum healthcare to 1.2 billion

Harsh Vardhan 2909New Delhi (ISJ) ? Despite lack of budgetary allocation, Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan has laid out an ambitious plan to provide 'accessible, affordable and equitable' healthcare to 1.2 billion population of India.

Addressing media on NDA government's early achievements on health front, Dr. Vadhan hopes to replicate the pulse polio benchmark in other communicable diseases like Rotavirus, diarrhoea, Rubella and Japanese Encephalitis.

"We are resolved to eradicate/eliminate from this country, communicable diseases like measles, neonatal tetanus, filarial and kala-azar. This will be possible through a social movement backing the government's programme just as it did in the case of polio," said Dr. Harsh Vardhan.

The Minister however asked non-BJP governments in the states to avoid politicising the issue of healthcare. He said, he is 'implementing the programmes started by the previous government and often infusing new energy into them'. Dr. Vardhan said, the roadmap for a new Universal Health Assurance Mission (UHAM), as figured in the President?s inaugural address to Parliament is ready, as recommended by a committee headed by Dr. Ranjit Roy Chaudhury, a retired professor-Emeritus of Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh.

The recommendations include providing 50 essential generic drugs with a package of diagnostics and about 30 drugs from Indian system of medicine to all citizens in government hospitals and health centres across the country, a package of preventive and positive health information and universal health insurance. Dr. Vardhan however, said the present budgetary allocation is 'inadequate', but his ministry will optimise every available rupee.

In a bid to augment the mismatch between available healthcare system, which is primarily based on single-line treatment, and demand, the Health Minister emphasised on holistic medicine ? combining the traditional, evidence-based medical streams, alongwith allopathic treatment. He said, an expert group is currently developing a treatment protocol and areas of integration.

"The government will host for the first time the World Ayurveda Congress in New Delhi between November 7 and 9. This will be attended by over 4,000 delegates including 24 ministers from 40 countries," said Dr Harsh Vardhan.

The Minister said medical research will be in focus during the next five years in a bid to regain India's pre-eminence in this field.

"We will strive to become a world leader in research through optimum usage of cutting edge technologies like stem cell, nanomedicine, molecular medicine and bioengineering," said Dr. Harsh Vardhan.

He said the Indian Council of Medical Research has been given full freedom to work in partnership with other science departments and industry to develop diagnostics, drugs, vaccines and pharmaceuticals which would be affordable for the common man and, at the same time, globally competitive.

-NB Nair

Image courtesy: PIB

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