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Healthcare Gets A Booster Shot

The Union cabinet on Wednesday approved setting up of 75 new medical colleges by 2021-22 as it sanctioned 24,375 crore to augment the healthcare infrastructure. The proposed colleges will result in 15,700 additional MBBS seats.

“The establishment of new medical colleges attached with existing district/referral hospitals, would lead to an increase in the availability of qualified health professionals, improve tertiary care in the government sector, utilize existing infrastructure of districts hospitals and promote affordable medical education in the country,” the government said in a statement.

The government on Wednesday liberalised foreign direct investment (FDI) rules in four sectors including single-brand retail trade and digital media to boost investment in private sector.

“New medical colleges will be set up in underserved areas. Preference will be given to aspirational districts and district hospitals having 300 beds,” it added.

Focusing on the creation of healthcare infrastructure, the government had earlier approved 58 new medical colleges attached with existing district/referral hospitals. Of these, 39 medical colleges, which were to be built under phase-I, have started functioning, while 29 will be made functional by 2022. Under phase-II, 18 new medical colleges have been approved, the government said.

The cabinet said that the amendments have been made to the recently enacted National Medical Commission Bill, 2019. The original version of the bill was approved by the cabinet on 17 July 2019, and was passed in both Houses of Parliament on 29 July and 1 August, respectively.

According to the National Health Policy 2017, the government has to ensure availability of paramedics and doctors as per the norms under the Indian Public Health Standards (IPHS) in high priority districts by 2020, and increase community health volunteers to population ratio as per IPHS norms in high priority districts by 2025. It also envisages establishment of primary and secondary care facilities according to the IPHS regulations in high-priority districts (population as well as time to reach norms) by 2025.

The government said that its earlier announcements, as a part of ‘Ayushman Bharat’, were path breaking initiatives to address India’s healthcare holistically, impacting primary, secondary and tertiary care systems, as well as prevention and health promotion. – Livemint