PGI to implement telemedicine programme in SAARC countries.

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Chandigarh, Jul 18 (UNI) The Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, has been chosen as one of the super-speciality institutes for implementation of telemedicine programme in SAARC countries, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said today.

Delivering his address at the convocation of the PGIMER here, he said the Government of India had signed the Memorandum of Understanding to provide telemedicine services to Bhutan and Sri Lanka this year.

Stating that India has steadily achieved a lot in the field of health, he said infant mortality rate was now 57 per 1000 live births against 72 per 1000 live births in 1989-99.

Although the overall fertility rate stands at 2.7 children per woman, there are ten states where the replacement level fertility rate of 2.1 has already been achieved. Similarly, urban India has already achieved the replacement level fertility rate of 2.1, he said.

Mr Mukherjee said the 10th Plan allocation for health was Rs 42,000 crore and the 11th Plan envisaged tripling the allocation, which showed the Government's determination to improve the health sector.

While praising the faculty of the PGIMER, he said since the faculty was amongst the best in India he would urge the doctors to focus their energies on answering the health needs of this country.

" We need a lot more grass-root research on the epidemiology of our diseases, on infections, on nutrition on simplified treatment regimens, and so on".

Referring to ancient system of tradional medicine, Mr Mukherjee said it was the duity of institutesd like the PGIMER to collaborate, investigate and infrom about which traditional medicines have a scientific basis for usage.

He said that China performs reserach on their traditional herbs than what we do. "It would a pity if some day, researchers in other countries perform scientific trials on our herbs and teach us what we are supposed to know", He added.

Earlier Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Anbumani Ramadoss in his address narrated the recent national achievements in the health sector through National Rural Health Mission.

National School Health Programme, National Trauma Programme, Urban Health Mission and Cancer Programme were few of the activities that were in the pipeline to improve the overall health of urban and rural people.

Referring to the brain drain, he urged the students to work for their country and not to leave for foreign shores. "All roads lead to India", he said while congratulating the fraternity of PGIMER for its best work culture.

Prof. K K Talwar, Director of the PGIMER, also spoke. As many as 287 students were awarded postgraduate and doctoral degrees in various specialities.

UNI VKJ JS1745

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