Azad invites private sector to help in health infra

Thursday, December 2, 2010

NEW DELHI - Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad Thursday called for more participation from the private sector in health ministry’s project of building hospitals and medical colleges on land owned by the railways.

“Over 400 sites (owned by railway ministry) have been identified and handed over to the health ministry. We will work with state governments, and other ministries. But government resources will not be enough and even after taking all, we need help from you (private sector),” Azad said.

He said discussions on such collaborations will be held after the winter session of parliament concludes.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between the railway and health ministries in February this year to develop health care facilities like diagnostic centres, out-patient centres, in-patient medical treatment facilities, super-speciality hospitals, medical colleges and nursing schools.

Under the agreement, while the railways would provide land, the health ministry would be in charge of setting up infrastructure.

Over the last five years, the government of India has invested nearly Rs.45,000 crore to meet the healthcare infrastructure right from sub-centre to district hospitals. A larger effort will be required in the 12th Plan period to achieve the goal of taking the total allocation for the health sector to 2-3 percent of our GDP, Azad said.

He underlined the importance of the public sector in filling in the gaps in investment.

The participation of the private sector is needed as a synergetic arrangement which ensures that the private sector also contributes to public health goals. There is no escaping from the need to build a viable and pro-poor partnerships with private sector, he said.

The minister added that transparency and accountability from private players is equally important.

He said that the government was reviewing the existing regulatory system for medical education and establishment.

He also said that a bill for setting up a National Council for Human Resource in Health will soon be introduced in parliament to address issues of quality, quantity and equitable distribution of medical education resources.

Filed under: Medicine

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