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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Accredited health activist to be appointed in each district

One Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) will be appointed in each district in Tamil Nadu within the next six months, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Anbumani Ramadoss said on Saturday.

The ASHA, who will work at the village level, will serve as the fulcrum of the National Rural Health Mission programme, networking with the village level resource team to provide preventive and promotive healthcare services.

Speaking after inaugurating a special health camp at Nemily in Vellore district, Dr. Anbumani said the ASHAs would fill the gap in the delivery of health care services to rural areas.

Out of the total budgetary allocation of Rs.16,000 crore for the Health Ministry, Rs.12,300 crore had been set aside for NRHM alone, Dr. Anbumani said. Much of this money would go towards patient welfare societies, conducting health camps, for modernisation of primary health centres, district head quarters hospitals and to increase the staff strength in these centres.

Over 58 years the number of specialists, doctors, nurses and paramedical staff had remained abysmally low, far short of the requirement. However, over the last couple of years, efforts were made to increase these numbers, he said, adding that the government would constantly try to increase the staff complement. The Minister was all praise for Tamil Nadu and particularly, Vellore district, for increasing the number of deliveries being conducted at Primary Health Centres. Vellore was unique in that it had managed to conduct Caesarean surgeries in three PHCs that were also equipped with blood storage centres, he added.

Minister of State for Railways R.Velu, in whose constituency the health camp was conducted, said a sum of Rs.8 lakh was being allotted to each MP under the NRHM. It had been utilised to buy scan equipment, spruce up PHCs and conduct health camps.

Vellore Collector Dharmendra Pratap Yadav said education and health were two assets that would make a person independent. Both these aspects were being handled by the Central schemes – Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and NRHM. Funds available with the health and sanitation committees in each village as part of NRHM allotment were coming in handy to make small repairs and take care of immediate requirements of patients.

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