Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Sunday expressed concern at India's health indicators, describing them among the worst in the world, as he urged the medical fraternity to revamp healthcare within the next decade.
Launching the golden jubilee celebrations of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) here, he exhorted policy planners and doctors to emulate the example of Kerala, which with its world-class health indicators had shown there was no need for high standards of living or high-cost medical care to improve the health of the people.
"While we all are truly proud of our accomplishments in medical science and technology, we must be aware that the health indicators of our country do not do us proud," Manmohan Singh said.
"It is a matter of serious concern that after so many decades of our effort, our health indicators are among the worst in the world. Our infant mortality rates, our maternal mortality rates and the incidence of easily controlled diseases and epidemics are unfortunately among the worst in the world."
"I request all those connected with the planning of health services in our country, those who are in the government, those who are health policy planners, AIIMS and the medical fraternity on the task of exploring ways by which we can bring the health status of the rest of the country to the levels prevailing in Kerala in the next decade," he said.
Manmohan Singh said his government planned to support the establishment and growth of public health, which could provide the framework for multi-disciplinary partnerships in education, research and health action.
Pointing out that private care could not be the immediate answer to the needs of people who did not have basic purchasing power, he said that institutions like AIIMS and policy makers would have to refashion the healthcare system to meet the needs of this segment of society.
The prime minister was conferred with an honorary fellowship of AIIMS for his outstanding contribution as an economist and a visionary statesman. He unveiled the logo of the golden jubilee celebrations.
Manmohan Singh also gave away medals and prizes during the annual convocation of AIIMS. Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss was present on the occasion.