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Sonia moots healthcare plan for urban poor

By K Anurag
March 06, 2010 00:29 IST
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A special health-care scheme in the line of National Rural Health Mission is to be unveiled by the United Progressive Alliance government to look after healthcare needs of the urban poor and slum dwellers.

UPA chairperson and Congress president Sonia Gandhi announced it while attending the inaugural function at North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences in Shillong on Friday. She however, said no time-frame had been set for unveiling the special healthcare scheme for urban areas.

"We felt the need for an NRHM-like programme for urban areas in order to improve health infrastructure across the country," Gandhi said while inaugurating the NEIGRIHMS.

The NEIGRIHMS is India's third post-graduate medical institute after the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi and Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh. She also promised to provide incentives to make NEIGRIHMS an attractive destination for doctors.

"Shortage of doctors is a nationwide phenomenon, and we are looking into it seriously. We plan to increase seats in all medical colleges to tide over this crisis," said Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad. He informed that the Department of Ayush would be setting up an ayurvedic institute at NEIGRIHMS.

Later addressing a mammoth public rally at the Polo Ground in Shillong, Gandhi said: "The Congress is paying more attention to the development of youth, particularly in geographically disadvantaged regions such as the Northeast." She "symbolically" laid the foundation of a new Congress Bhawan at Polo Ground, as the site for the office is yet to be identified.

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K Anurag in Guwahati