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States must address shortage of medical professionals: PM

K Anurag in Guwahati | August 25, 2008 13:55 IST
Last Updated: August 25, 2008 13:58 IST

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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] on Monday called upon all the states to contribute to the government's efforts to address the problem of shortage of trained medical professionals -- doctors and nurses -- throughout the country.

Laying the foundation of the 500-bed Jorhat Medical College Hospital in Upper Assam on Monday, Dr Singh informed that the Planning Commission had estimated that there would be shortage of about 1 million nurses in the country in the next 10 years.

In this regard he said given the scope, the 'educated and progressive women' of the north-east would be able to make good doctors and nurses to cater to the countrywide need of medical professionals.

Dr Singh said there was a shortage of high quality medical education institutions in the country and the problem had been compounded by the uneven distribution of quality medical education institutions and hospitals, given that 60 per cent of such institutions are located in south Indian states.

"There is need to enhance quality of medical education and ensure availability of better healthcare facilities all over the country. For that to materialise, there should be balanced regional distribution of such institutions, which should be provided autonomy of functioning so that those can flourish," Dr Singh said.

Dr Singh also flagged off mobile medical units for 17 districts of Assam at the function held at Kachari Maidan in Jorhat on Monday.

He lauded it an innovative effort to take medical facilities to the doorstep of the common man in rural areas as part of the National Rural Health Mission which, he said, has tasted great success in Assam because of good effort made by the state government.

Each of these mobile medical units comprise of three vehicles carrying doctors, nurses, diagnostic equipments including ultrasound machine and medicines. Already 10 other districts of Assam have such mobile units.

The Central government will provide Rs 480 crore to set up three medical colleges and hospitals at Jorhat, Tezpur and Barpeta in Assam.

Rs 160.64 crore will be spent to set up the Medical College at Jorhat, the 4th one in the state.

It will be opened for patients in January 2009, while classes in the 'state of the art' super specialty medical institution will start in 2010.

Dr Singh embarked on his two-day visit to Assam by laying the foundation of the medical college in the home town of Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi.

Dr Singh is accompanied by his wife Gurcharan Kaur. He is scheduled to address a public rally at Nagaon in Central Assam later in the day.

He will meet party leaders, ministers and legislators at Raj Bhavan in Guwahati in the evening.

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