Stepped up allocation for health sector in XIth Plan: Ramadoss

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New Delhi, Jan 22 (UNI) Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Anbumani Ramadoss today said an outlay of Rs 2,900 crore has been proposed for the nursing sector under the Eleventh Plan in addition to Rs 280 crore for existing schemes as part of the health care delivery system.

The new schemes under the five-year Plan included setting up of 24 centres of excellence at a cost of Rs 20 crore per institution and opening of 145 ANM schools and 137 GNM schools, the Minister said while inaugurating the centenary celebrations of Trained Nurses Association of India (TNAI).

These steps were aimed at strengthening nursing educational institutions and setting up additional nursing educational institutions under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) to tide over the acute shortage of nurses in the country.

Nursing personnel, Dr Ramadoss pointed out, were frontline health care providers in the community. Their role and significance has grown immensely with the introduction of primary health care services and health for all strategies.

A task force of the Planning Commission in its report had highlighted the large demand for nursing personnel to serve at primary health centres and skewed distribution of nurses across the country with as many as 230 districts identified where there were no ANM and GNM institutions.

At present, about 9.30 lakhs nurses are registered with various State Nursing Councils in India. There are about 1,597 nursing schools and about 833 B.Sc. (Nursing) Colleges and 97 M.Sc (Nursing) colleges functioning in the country having capacity to train 79,850 diploma nurses and 416,50 graduate nurses a year, respectively.

However, there was need to expand the training facilities and equally sanction additional nursing posts for adopting optimum nurse patient ratio, the Minister admitted.

In this context, he said four regional institutes of nursing in Chennai, Mumbai, Kolkata and Delhi would be set up, 17 state nursing councils and of 17 nursing cells in the Directorate of Health Services strengthened at the state level at a cost Rs 1 crore each per State/UT and establishment of 6 colleges of nursing (at a cost of Rs 15 crore per college) in the states of Rajasthan, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and Uttar Pradesh.

''Besides patients' care, nurses are required today for unconventional roles that of promoting health care practices, educating people about disease prevention, offering family welfare services, counselling and motivation. They are the ones who provide the most vital maternal and child health care services to the community,'' Dr Ramadoss said paying tributes to the nursing profession.

Present on the occasion were TNAI President Arvind B Kulkarni, TNAI First Vice-President Sr. Gilbert, senior ministry officials and representatives from TNAI.

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