Ghulam Nabi Azad called for proactive implementation of health programmes in states. Addressing a meeting of State Health Ministers and senior health officials here, Azad said that the 12th Plan sets a goal of moving towards universal healthcare to provide quality healthcare to people living even in the remotest part of the country.
He said that the 12th Plan accords priority to health sector and substantial increase in the allocation during the 12th Plan is envisaged.
Azad, however, cautioned that concerns have been expressed about the capacity of the State Governments to utilize the available resources.
"The implementation of schemes rests with the States and UTs. Therefore, it is essential for all States/UTs to build their capacity to timely utilize the available funds. I would strongly urge all the State Health Ministers and State Secretaries to closely monitor the financial progress and utilize the funds effectively and expeditiously" Azad said.
He further said that over the last seven years since NRHM was launched, substantial progress has been made in several areas like creation of new health infrastructure, strengthening/upgradation of existing facilities, addition of nearly 1.6 lakh human resources that include doctors, specialists, nurses, ANMs, para-medic etc and improvement in the quality of healthcare at public health facilities.
Notwithstanding the achievements, Azad said there are several areas of concern that need attention.
"The slow pace of works to create Health infrastructure is a major area of concern. Irrational deployment of doctors is another reason affecting functionality of the units," he added
Highlighting the large number of vacancies in high focus districts that have relatively poor health indicators, Azad said: "The Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakaram has not been fully operationalized by the States resulting in several gaps. More efforts are necessary to ensure updating of information and in monitoring actual service delivery by effective use of data in Mother and Child Tracking System (MCTS)."
For new initiatives during the 12th Plan, Azad called for particularly provisioning of services in the remotest and inaccessible areas and to strengthen the identified Sub-Centres which are the first port of call for the community.
"The District Hospitals must become strong hubs for secondary care. We plan to strengthen the District Hospitals to provide advance secondary and multi-speciality healthcare," Azad said. He further urged the States to identify the existing gaps and formulate proposals for strengthening of District Hospitals.
"We propose to introduce universal screening for all children for disease, disability and deficiency which should be followed up by free treatment where required' Azad added.
Health Ministers from 22 States and senior officials from States and the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare are attending the two-day review meeting.
The two-day meeting would deliberate on review of health programmes under NRHM; discussion on regulatory issues as also Medical education and Medical human resources concerns.