On the occasion of 65th Martyrdom of Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi ji, while Inaugurating two days all India Gandhian Summit Organised by Gandhi Global Family Honr,ble Union Minister Gulam Nabi Azad for Health and Family Welfare and President of Gandhi Global Family at Guwahati gave his public address to a large Gathering who assembled in remember-ace of Father of the Nation and paid tribute to him at Venenary Ground.
The full text of the speech of Honr,ble Minister and President of GGF is as below.
At the outset let me wish you all a very happy new year. I am very happy to be in your midst today. You all are aware that National Rural Health Mission is the flagship programme of UPA government.
Our government is committed to providing affordable, accessible and equitable healthcare to the rural masses of the country.
I am happy to note that the Govt. of Assam has made very good use of the assistance provided by the Central Government for upgrading its health system.
It has resulted in improved health services in the State, which is also being seen in the outcome parameters now. Assam recorded a drop of 90 points in Maternal Mortality Ratio, from 480 per 100,000 live births in 2004-06 to 390 per 100,000 live births in 2007-09.
In child health, after stagnating for many years before the start of NRHM, Assam has now shown impressive progress in IMR also, which has come down to 58 per 1000 live births in 2010 from 68 per 1000 live births in 2005.
The Prime Minister in his Independence Day speech had flagged the need to provide the common man with access to improved health services.
Calling for the 12th plan to be specially focused on health, the PM promised that funds would not be a constraint in the important areas of education and health.
On the national level, the achievements of NRHM are well visible, as currently country’s IMR has reduced from 58 per 1000 live births in 2005 to 47 per 1000 live births in 2010.
Similarly, MMR has declined from 254 per 100,000 live births during 2004-06 to 212 per 100,000 live births in 2007-09. Further, TFR reduced to 2.6 in 2009 from 2.9 in 2005.
Number of reported deaths due to malaria, kala azar and dengue has reduced considerably.
Further, the target of Leprosy Control Programme and Blindness Control Programme has been met and iodine deficiency disorders have ceased to exist as a public health problem.
Even in terms of output, we have seen good results. There has been considerable increase in the OPD and IPD figures for the public sector facilities across the country.
The percentage of institutional delivery has seen a sharp jump, more so in the so-called backward states. The number of beneficiaries of Janani Suraksha Yojna has crossed 1.1 crore per annum.
Pulse Polio Programme has seen spectacular success during last calendar year, when only one case of paralysis due to wild poliovirus came to light as compared to hundreds and thousands that the country used to witness.
However as each Common Review Mission has made clear, having brought more and more people to the public health system, the challenge is to address the concerns of quality of healthcare.
How to make the deliveries safe, how to take care of neonatal mortality, how to address maternal anemia, how to address the problem of malnutrition, how to address ailments at the appropriate level of healthcare facility, how to develop a good referral system, how to make the health system sustainable and more women friendly are some of the key challenges before us.
We know that the progress across the States and across different themes is variable and this CRM has shown that in some areas, there has been much improvement in making it safe –like in emergency transport, or training of skilled birth attendants, but where specialists are needed, it is still very slow progress.
We have taken many new initiatives under NRHM in the recent past. Mother and Child tracking system through name based, address based, telephone number based tracking will lead to better utilization of resources. Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakram has been launched recently, which provides service guarantee to pregnant women and neonates accessing the public healthcare system.
To address the newborn mortality, we had launched Navjat Shishu Suraksha Karyakram, which is a training programme for the healthcare providers. Due to our efforts, after many years, for the first time the rural IMR has fallen by 4 points in the year 2010.
Polio has been a striking success story. We have not seen a single case of paralytic polio due to wild poliovirus for the last one-year and India is on the verge of being declared a non-endemic country.
I am happy to note that Assam has used the funds under NRHM innovatively. I am particularly aware of the Boat clinics of Assam, which provide health care to people in very inaccessible areas.
I am also happy to know that the State is running Mamoni and Majoni schemes for control of maternal malnutrition and anemia and for encouraging the girl child respectively.
However, I would like to sound a note of caution also. Though you have shown good progress in MMR and IMR, it still remains very high. MMR of Assam is highest in the country and you need to do a lot in this area.
Similarly, child health and newborn health also needs to be improved further. Japanese encephalitis has also emerged as an area of concern in Assam and you need to work hard in this area.
Finally, I would urge you all to pay attention to the issue of population stabilization. We have to do this through meeting the unmet need, better supply of services and commodities and awareness generation.
If the base of the population pyramid remains ever increasing, we will only be chasing the numbers and it will be difficult for us to devote our energies and resources on improvement in quality.
The 12th Plan and the continuation of the NRHM provides even greater opportunity and space for living up to the promises we have made to people and I invite all of you to continue to make this exciting journey with us as partners.
I would end with a quote of Mahatma Gandhi, whose death anniversary falls on 30th January, i.e. tomorrow and whose life has deeply influenced me.
I quote “Think of the poorest person you have ever seen and ask if your next act will be of any use to him.” Unquote.
Thank you all.