"The number of primary health centres is still below target. Most stark is the shortfall of doctors and key specialists like gynaecologists and paediatricians, nurses, health workers, technicians and other vital human resource," he said this at a press conference here yesterday at the end of his two-day Odisha tour.
Dr Harsh Vardhan said that in his interactions with students and faculty members of AIIMS-Bhubaneswar on Saturday he had urged them to convert the dream of accomplishing the health goals of the country into a reality.
He told the faculty members, "You are doctors of AIIMS and therefore something special in the perception of people. You are expected to be an intellectual, gifted with extraordinary acumen. Society and the country expect you to brainstorm on the problems of the health sector and design solutions which could improve the lives of ordinary Indians."
His advice for the students was, "Please be conscious that you are receiving world class medical education at next to no cost to yourselves. To develop one doctor in AIIMS the taxpayer pays Rs 8-10 crore. The poorest of poor Oriyas and Indians are subsidising you. So when you become doctors please work unselfishly so that India can achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goals."
Dr Harsh Vardhan acknowledged that doctors and medical students face numerous problems. But he urged them to be more positive and see the bigger picture.
"Take the paucities as challenges. Each challenge teaches you a new lesson. What separates ordinary doctors from AIIMS-trained doctors is ingenuity - the quality of being unmoved by complicated cases and cool-headedly applying novel treatment lines. The training for that comes from beyond the text books," he remarked.
The Health Minister noted that a large number of trained medicos are leaving India each year for more lucrative careers abroad.
"Though the government does not have a policy of making them repay the subsidies that funded their education, it is up to the doctors to be more concerned about the health goals of the nation and contribute their mite to achieving them," he stated.