Gender inequalities a major constraint, says ICMR Director-General
59 new colleges granted affiliationSixth centre for online admissions to MBBS to be set up
VIJAYAWADA: The challenges before the medical community are staggering, with poverty, illiteracy, gender inequality and lack of infrastructure contributing to the deterioration of health standards in the country, according to N.K. Ganguly, Director-General of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
Delivering the convocation lecture at the 11th annual convocation of the Dr. N.T.R. University of Health Science (NTR-UHS) here on Wednesday, Prof. Ganguly said that the earlier goal of `health for all by 2000' could not be achieved. New goals had been set since then, and one of the targets was to reduce by half poverty and extreme hunger by 2015. He stressed the importance of economic and other factors in deciding the health standards of the people.
In 1990, around 1.2 billion, or, 28 per cent of the developing world, was living in extreme poverty. The figure dipped to 19 per cent by 2002. Chronic hunger - measured by the proportion of people lacking the food needed to meet their daily needs - declined in the developing world, but overall progress was not fast enough to reduce the number of people going hungry.
An estimated 824 million people in the developing world were affected by chronic hunger in 2003, Prof. Ganguly said.
He said gender inequality had an impact on the health of women and children. The Union Government had pursued political empowerment of women, and for example Rajasthan had 3,000 women village heads or sarpanches and 33,000 elected representatives in panchayats.
But for the participation of women in politics, India ranked virtually at the bottom of 58 nations that were studied on five parameters set by the United Nations. NTR-UHS Vice-Chancellor R. Sambasiva Rao officiated over the convocation in the absence of Chancellor and Governor Rameshwar Thakur.
Prof. Rao said 59 new colleges had been granted affiliation in the current academic year.
The newly affiliated colleges included 54 nursing colleges, three dental colleges, a medical college and an Ayurvedic medical college.
A sixth centre for online admissions to MBBS and BDS courses would be established on the university campus this year, in addition to the five centres established last year on the campuses of JNT University, Osmania University (both Hyderabad), S.V. University (Tirupati), Andhra University (Visakhapatnam) and Acharya Nagarjuna University (Guntur). An honorary degree of Doctor of Science was awarded to P.S. Shankar, Professor Emeritus and Director of M.R. Medical College, Gulbarga