Funding to States under NHM for upgrading hospitals to continue, says Health Secretary

Union Health Secretary has clarified that district and referral hospitals which are being converted into medical colleges will continue to receive funding support

Published - July 11, 2024 03:20 am IST - New Delhi

Image used for representational purpose.

Image used for representational purpose. | Photo Credit: K. Ragesh

Union Health Secretary Apurva Chandra has written to certain States and Union Territories reassuring them of funding, amid apprehension that existing hospitals which are being converted into medical colleges, will stop receiving funds from the National Health Mission (NHM).

Mr. Chandra has clarified that district and referral hospitals which are being converted into medical colleges will continue their roles and obligations under the NHM and will continue to receive funding support from the Centre. The letter came in view of demands made by the States and UTs for construction of additional district and referral hospitals, due to fears that the existing ones may lose funding.

“Three phases of a [Centrally sponsored] scheme have been implemented, to date, under which 157 colleges have been sanctioned in line with the objective of increasing medical professionals. As of now, of these 157 medical colleges, 108 have already become functional. Of the 157 colleges approved, 40 are located in the aspirational districts enabling an impetus of investment in these districts,” the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has stated.

There have been concerted efforts over the last nine years to increase the number of medical colleges. At present, there are 706 medical colleges in the country. In the last nine years, a total of 319 medical colleges have been added (including private medical colleges), leading to a 82% increase in the establishment of medical colleges since 2014, the Ministry said. 

India’s medical education network has expanded manifold with more focus and investments towards professional education and quality. The focus has been on reaching the underserved areas and addressing the lack of accessibility. Globally, there has been a constant drive for improving the doctor population ratio to ensure better access to healthcare services, the Ministry further said.

The scheme to provide Central funding for opening new medical colleges by strengthening and upgrading the district hospitals was introduced in 2014, the Centre added.

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