Govt to boost health infra to provide best treatment to people: PM


PTI, Apr 28, 2022, 7:04 PM IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said that the government is committed to strengthening the health infrastructure to provide the best and the cheapest treatment to the ailing people, particularly those suffering from cancer.

Addressing a rally at Dibrugarh in Assam after inaugurating seven cancer care centers and laying the foundation stone for seven others across the state, Modi said that he does not want anyone to fall ill but if they do, “we have built hospitals for them to get the best treatment without any financial burden”.

There was a time when setting up one hospital in seven years was a big achievement but times have changed and seven cancer hospitals were inaugurated on a single day while three more will be ready in the next few months, he said.

“I pray for the good health of all and do not want anybody to go there. If hospitals are empty, I will be happy,” Modi said.

Cancer is detected in large numbers not only in Assam but the entire North East and the worst affected are the poor and the middle class. Earlier, people had to go outside the state for treatment and this resulted in a huge financial burden for them, he said.

During the last five to six years, former chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal, his successor Himanta Biswa Sarma and Tata Trusts Chairman Ratan Tata have taken the initiative to set up the Assam Cancer Care Foundation (ACCF) to provide economic and effective treatment to cancer patients, Modi said.

The ACCF is a joint venture of the state government and Tata Trusts.

”This is a great service to humanity and I thank them for taking this initiative”, he added.

The PM said that the Centre has also focused on cancer treatment in the Rs 1,500 crore special package earmarked for the North East in this year’s Union budget as this disease weakens the financial condition of cancer patients’ families and many people are forced to take loans.

”There are many who do not go for treatment due to the costs involved and we cannot allow this. Early detection of cancer with cheap treatment must be provided to those suffering from the disease,” he said.

Medicines will be made available to cancer patients at half the price under the ‘Jan Aushadi’ scheme and make 900 medicines available at a low rate. The government’s focus on providing improved health facilities to the citizens includes preventive measures such as yoga, fitness, cleanliness among others, and setting up more diagnostic and testing centers for early detection of the diseases, Modi said.

The health facilities should be available nearby and for this, primary health centers are being strengthened along with the wellness center networks while free treatment for the poor is being ensured under the Ayushman Bharat Scheme, he said.

The government was also committed to reducing the dependence on treatment in big cities and for this, investment in health infrastructure has been increased.

”Before 2014, there were only seven AIIMS but now 16 new ones have been set up, including one in Guwahati (in Assam). Earlier there were only 387 medical colleges but now it has reached 600,” he said.

Modi said that the number of doctors will also be increased in the next 10 years with 70,000 new seats for MBBS and post-graduate students while five lakh Ayush doctors will be considered at par with allopathic doctors, and the fees structure of the private medical colleges will be the same as in government facilities.

Medical education will also be imparted in the mother tongue or the local language so that the children of poor people can also become doctors, the prime minister said.

The state government has also taken several measures to improve the health infrastructure in tea garden areas, he added.

Earlier in the day, Modi inaugurated the Dibrugarh Cancer Centre at Assam Medical College and Hospital. He also virtually inaugurated six other similar facilities in Barpeta, Tezpur, Jorhat, Lakhimpur, Kokrajhar, and Darrang.

Modi laid the foundation stones of seven cancer hospitals at Dhubri, Goalpara, Golaghat, Sivasagar, Nalbari, Nagaon, and Tinsukia.

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