Rural healthcare in the northeast is expected to get a major boost with the central health ministry launching a mega mission to upgrade medical facilities in the interior regions.
Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss has launched the National Rural Health Mission for the northeastern states in Assam's main city of Guwahati with a pledge that every rural hospital would have a doctor and adequate nursing staff.
"We shall make it mandatory for all medical graduates who have completed their internship to serve in a rural area for one year. During this period they would be given a temporary registration and once they complete the yearlong tenure, they would be entitled for permanent registration," the minister told reporters after launching the mission.
He said the healthcare system in the northeast was characterized by "poor and ill-maintained infrastructure facilities', besides shortage of support staff.
"The situation is going to change drastically now with the launch of the Mission and development of infrastructure," Ramadoss said.
"In three years' time we hope to change the face of the rural healthcare system in the country and the northeast in particular."
The emphasis of the mission is to reduce the infant mortality rate, maternal mortality rate and the total fertility ratio.
"We are planning to train some 2,50,000 nurses across the country meant for working in the rural areas," the minister said.
He said there were proposal for setting up more medical, dental, and nursing colleges in the northeast where the 39 million people faces the challenge of accessing primary healthcare facilities.
"The government healthcare system was able to cater to just 20 percent of the demands and the rest 80 percent were left to be cared for by the private sector. But now things would change for the better," Ramadoss said.