Staff Reporter

VIJAYAWADA: Stating that the Congress led-United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government was giving top priority to healthcare, Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Panabaka Lakshmi on Wednesday announced that the National Urban Health Mission would be launched soon on the lines of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), which was serving the rural poor for the past three years.

Addressing a meeting after inaugurating a health sub-centre at Nidamanuru near here, Ms. Lakshmi said that the NRHM was launched as part of the prestigious ‘Bharat Nirman’ programme with the objective of upgrading district, primary and community health centres with better infrastructure.

As many as 8,756 health centres had already been upgraded across the country so far. Besides upgrading the health centres, the NRHM was also focusing on appointment of staff in the centres. Over five lakh health workers had been appointed and trained so far.

“Our aim is to promote the concept of institutional deliveries and create awareness among people on the spread of HIV. We’re happy, as there is an increase in institutional deliveries by 80 per cent,” she said.

The Minister said that in the Union Budget for 2008-09 presented to Parliament, the Government had sanctioned Rs. 12,050 crores for NRHM. Andhra Pradesh would get Rs. 430 crores.

Ms. Lakshmi also lauded the ‘Rajiv Arogya Sri’ programme, which provides an opportunity to the poor to undergo treatment in corporate hospitals.

MPs Lagadapati Rajagopal (Vijayawada), Kavuri Sambasiva Rao (Eluru), Gannavaram MLA M. Venkateswara Rao, District Medical and Health Officer Madhava Reddy and others were present.