"We are dealing with a complex health environment, persistent communicable diseases, increasing non-communicable diseases and emerging infections in our country," Azad said at a function in the Meghalaya capital.
He said India has earned international acclaim for containing polio, with the longest polio-free period ever since eradication efforts were launched. India has been taken off the list of countries with endemic transmission of wild polio virus.
Although health is a state subject, the central government has stepped in to make health-care services accessible, affordable and equitable, especially for the marginalised and vulnerable sections of the population, he said.
Since the launch of the National Rural Health Mission 7 years ago, substantial progress has been achieved in several areas, he said, adding more than Rs.90,000 crore has been released to 35 state governments and union territories.
New health infrastructure has been created - nearly 43,500 new construction and up-gradation works to improve health facilities, he said.
About 70,000 beds have been increased in the country in government health institutions for provision of essential and emergency services, added Azad.