The first super-speciality hospital in the northeast on the lines of the prestigious AIIMS was formally inaugurated here by Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Friday who said the government was mulling an urban equivalent of the National Rural Health Mission.

The North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute for Health and Medical Sciences (NEIGRIHMS), which opened in 2002, was conceived by Rajiv Gandhi nearly two decades ago and will have the best healthcare facilities.

“It has an important role to play in research and treatment,” Ms. Gandhi said of the institute designed on the lines of AIIMS, New Delhi, and PGIMER, Chandigarh, and having the most sophisticated cardiology department in the region, a state—of—art pain clinic, well—equipped neurology and urology cells and a 30—bed ICU.

She also hoped that NEIGRIHMS, the country’s third PG medical institute established by Health and Family Welfare Ministry, would roll out an adequate outreach and extension project to reach out to the rural population of the region.

“People do not get easy access to quality healthcare in many parts of the country. Incidence of cancer is a concern, malaria is prevalent in many parts and HIV infection has reached serious levels,” Ms. Gandhi said.

“UPA’s flagship programme NRHM is being upgraded and extended. The government is also considering initiating a similar programme for the urban population,” Ms. Gandhi said.

Noting that many people are unaware about the facilities at their disposal, she said “more information and communication have to be made available to the people.”