Screening of pregnant women and all individuals above the age of 30 for diabetes, hypertension and non-communicable diseases, and the introduction of Bachelor of Rural Health Care courses were among the major decisions taken at the three-day national conference of the State Health Ministers and Health Secretaries, which concluded here on Thursday.

The conference, chaired by Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Ghulam Nabi Azad, also came out with several initiatives to bring down Maternal and Infant Mortality Rates (MMR and IMR).

The actions to reduce MMR and IMR include ensuring one doctor and nurse at each primary health centre as a mandatory requirement by March 31, 2012; full antenatal care of the pregnant mothers; universalisation of the name-based mother and child tracking system to facilitate full antenatal care; safe delivery; postnatal care; and the immunisation of children.

Among the other steps are free delivery services to pregnant women in government health facilities; malnutrition and maternal anaemia to be addressed on priority; and institutional delivery to be facilitated by ensuring referral transport.

It was also resolved that early diagnosis and complete treatment of malaria would be ensured, and the supply of Long Lasting Insecticide Nets would be scaled up. Rapid diagnostic tests and Artemisinin-based combination therapy will be expanded to cover more areas.

Regarding tuberculosis, it was agreed that concerted efforts should be made to improve the detection rate in 100 identified districts where it was less than 50 per cent and raise it to 70 per cent by 2012.

Tackling tuberculosis

It was also resolved that Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis, which was emerging as a major health problem, would be addressed urgently.

In remote areas of designated Hill States, desert areas and tribal pockets, maternity waiting homes are to be set up and multi-skilling of doctors taken up to overcome the shortage of gynaecologists and anaesthesiologists.

Mental illnesses, illnesses of the elderly, and diseases caused by the use of tobacco will be recognised under Non-Communicable Diseases, and the government will launch a national programme for the eradication of Thalassemia.

State governments/municipalities will be requested to allot land for the construction of geriatric homes/hospitals.

The intake capacity at the MBBS level is to be increased to 250 in all government medical colleges, and State governments will ensure the early establishment of eight Regional Institutes of Paramedical Sciences (RIPS) financed by the Centre.

The proposed scheme of the Common Eligibility and Entrance Test (CEET) was discussed in detail. It will be discussed further to take on board the views and concerns of States.

Several regulatory issues were also discussed, and the States were requested to adopt the Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act 2010 as early as possible.

The conference was attended by Ministers from 16 States and officials from 28 States.

  • Conference suggests initiatives to bring down Maternal and Infant Mortality Rates
  • Mental illnesses, illnesses of the elderly to come under Non-Communicable Diseases