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Naidu advocates more medical colleges in State

Atal-Amrit Abhiyan launched

Staff Reporter
Guwahati, April 18: In an apparent move towards a healthy, happy and prosperous Assam, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu ceremonially launched Atal-Amrit Abhiyan – a cashless medical benefit scheme of the Government of Assam – at a function held at the International Convention Centre of Srimanta Sankardev Kalakshetra  here on Wednesday.
Atal-Amrit Abhiyan is a comprehensive coverage for six commonly prevalent and high-cost diseases involving 438 procedures under which every individual of every eligible family per annum will be entitled to financial benefits of Rs 2 lakh.
Speaking on the occasion, Naidu said, “ According to WHO survey, half of the people of the world cannot obtain quality health care facilities and seven per cent of the people of the country run out of money because of emergency health situations. Under such circumstances, launching of Atal-Amrit Abhiyan for the people belonging to BPL and APL is a noble endeavour for making health care facilities within the reach of everybody. If the scheme is implemented in letter and spirit, the people of the State would acknowledge the government’s endeavour forever.”
Vice President Naidu also said Atal Amrit Abhiyan would lead to creation of equitable access to affordable and accountable health care services, with the government being the enabler and guarantor, adding that the fact that 92 per cent of the people of Assam have been brought under the purview of the scheme is a testimony of the government’s keen inclination in providing universal health care facilities.
On the Northeast situation, Naidu said, “The National Family Health Survey IV shows that about 29.8 per cent children below the age of five years in Assam are underweight, while 35.7 children between 6-59 months are anaemic. The Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) in Assam stands at 44 per 1,000 live births as against the national average of 37. The Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) is 300 per 1,00,000 live births as against the national average of 167. I am sure the Assam government is taking the needed measures to bring down both IMR and MMR further,” adding, “The north-eastern States like the rest of India are facing shortage of medical manpower and medical facilities in rural areas. This shortage has to be bridged by opening more medical colleges and setting up more healthcare facilities in rural places. Besides, there is also a need to impart training to more paramedical personnel. One of the ways to address this problem is to make it mandatory for MBBS graduates to serve in rural areas. Doctors, who serve in rural areas, should be given preference in admission to PG medical courses.”
Dwelling on the issue of increasing rape cases in the country, the Vice President said nobody should encourage politics in rape cases, and rape incidents should rather be dealt with stringently and indifferently.
While stressing the need for making physical exercise mandatory in educational institutions, Naidu pointed to the importance of yoga in schools, wondering, however, why surya namaskar is being performed inside school buildings where there is no sun. He also suggested that food and lifestyle should be altered for a healthy life.
Harping on a different subject, the Vice President said mother tongue should be accorded highest priority.
Assam Governor Prof Jagdish Mukhi, while speaking on the occasion, termed the day as historic which helped the State emerge as the largest health insurance system of the world. He also said the future of a country depends on the quality of health that its citizens enjoy.. 
Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal gave a snapshot of different welfare schemes of his government and sought people’s cooperation for the successful implementation of Atal-Amrit Abhiyan. He said that ever since the present State government has assumed power, quality and equitable heath care delivery system has been one of the top priorities of his government.

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Ankur Kalita