Action plan coming to tone up rural health centres

YERCAUD, JULY 24. A time-bound action plan is being drafted to improve the performance of primary health centres (PHCs) and sub-health centres to ensure total medicare to the rural poor, the Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, R. Anbumani, said today.

Talking to reporters here, he said there were about 25,000 PHCs and sub-health centres in the country. While the States were responsible for their overall functioning, the Centre provided funds such as rent and wages for ANMs (Auxiliary Nurse-Midwives) attached to the PHCs. "Our immediate objective is to strengthen the staff in PHCs and impart specialised training to para-medical staff."

Agreeing that a limited budget was the major constraint to taking up sweeping improvements in the health sector, he said the Centre, however, decided to carry out its PHC upgrade project in a phased manner. He assured all possible help to the Tamil Nadu Government to develop infrastructure in its hospitals such as trauma care and diagnostic and laboratory equipment. Provided the State submitted "utilisation certificates" on time, more funds could be allocated, he said.

Care for AIDS victims

The Government sought $165 million from the Global Fund to provide ARV (anti-retro viral) drugs free to one lakh full-blown AIDS patients for five years. Special attention would be given to Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Manipur and Nagaland, where the prevalence of HIV and AIDS was high.

The Government proposed to open 24 new hospitals to treat AIDS patients free of cost. "We will also initiate talks with Indian medical firms to supply quality drugs to AIDS victims."

The Government planned to open public health schools to make the people aware of the importance of public and personal hygiene and clean environment. It had taken serious note of the falling sex ratios and ordered a strict vigil over scan centres.

MCI recognition

On denial of MCI recognition to the Tirunelveli and Tuticorin Medical colleges, Dr. Anbumani said he had sought a report from the Medical Council of India. Claiming that medical education was becoming a lucrative trade, he said the MCI was enforcing quality norms. "We will take necessary action."

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