Centre may hike public health budget

Centre may hike public health budget

Chennai: The Centre has called for a hike in budgetary allocation to Union Health and Family Welfare ministry in the 11th five year plan to increase spending on its ambitious public health plans.

“We are confident that we will be allocated a sum of about Rs1.36 lakh crore, as against Rs45,000 crore in the 10th Five Year Plan," Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Anbumani Ramadoss told reporters on 8 December on the sidelines of a Strabismology conference - ‘Synergy 07’.

An amount of Rs1,500 crore would be earmarked for the National Blindness Control Programme under the Plan, he said.

Ramadoss said India would achieve the targetted 0.3% prevalence of blindness by the year 2015. “When the National Blindness Control Programme was started some 20 years back, the prevalence rate was 1.4%, which has now come down to 1%," he said.

Asked about future health programmes, he said the Centre would introduce the National School Health Programme, where every school-going child would be provided a ‘smart card’.

“The child will be screened annually for health problems relating to vision, hearing, heart, diabetes and anaemia, among others, the information of which will be updated in the smart card," he said, adding the programme would be a Public-Private Partnership model.

The Centre last year had trained two lakh teachers in the country on identifying eye-defects in children, he said.

On the controversial Compulsory Rural Postings scheme for medicos, he said that any decision would be taken only after the Sambasiva Rao Committee, which is taking opinions of stakeholders, submitted its report. The committee is expected to submit the report by December end.