Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Ghulam Nabi Azad has laid emphasis on speaking openly about family planning as it is an important intervention both for improving maternal and child health and population stabilisation.

He was the chief guest at the 54 {+t} {+h} All India Congress of Obstetrics and Family Welfare organised under the aegis of the Federation of Obstetrics and Gynaecological Societies of India (FOGSI) and hosted by the Obstetrics and Gynaecologists Society of Hyderabad (OGSH) here on Thursday.

“There is a need to bring the subject from the closet and speak about it openly. We don't have to take harsh steps or fix any quota. We will have to educate people and encourage them to use contraceptives,” he said.

The Union Health Ministry would be sending contraceptives directly to 25,000 primary health centres without routing them through respective State governments. The Health Ministry itself would bear transportation cost and ANMs and Asha workers would deliver them at the door-step in villages. This would result in better compliance of family planning norms, he said.

He said improving maternal and child health was vital for increasing equity and attaining sustainable development of the country. A web-based tracking system to monitor immunisation of every child was already launched in two states.

Reforms

Mr. Azad also said that his ministry brought in several reforms to facilitate setting up of more medical colleges and hospitals. Six more AIIMS like institutions would be set up in the country by December this year and more hospitals by December next year.

He disclosed that Rs.1,100 crore would be allocated this year for strengthening paramedical institutions. A pilot project would be launched soon to test every man above 30 years of age and every pregnant woman for diabetes and hypertension as India was emerging as hub of diabetes. The scheme would be launched in 100 backward districts across the country and 33 cities covering a population of 15 to 18 crore in the next 15 months, added.

“I need your support in the execution of the programmes,” he told over 9,000 delegates attending the meet.

Health Minister D.L. Ravindra Reddy, past president of FOGSI Sanjay Gupte and new president P.C. Mahapatra spoke.