Professor Jeffrey Sachs lauds NRHM

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New Delhi, Aug.11 (ANI): The National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) has come in for much praise from Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs, the Director of The Earth Institute, Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development, and Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University.

Sachs, who is also Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, said: "The world has a lot to learn from India's experience in developing public health systems."

He was speaking at the sixth meeting of the International Advisory Panel of the NRHM that was held recently in New Delhi.

On the occasion, Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam nabi Azad released the First Report of the National Rural Health Mission for 2008-09, based on the web enabled Health Management Information System as part of fulfillment of the 100 days agenda of the Government.

Sachs felt that India can emerge as global hub for training of health professionals through institutions like Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI).

He however expressed the need for scaling up public health expenditure from the current 1.4 percent of GDP to at least five to six percent of GDP which according to him was a huge challenge.

He also advocated the need for more community health workers in addition to ASHAs and professional management of the health system.

He offered the services of IAP in helping in the process of scaling up through development of a few model districts with improved human development indicators.

Azad expressed his appreciation to the panel for their keen interest in the Mission.

While acknowledging the deficiency in human resources as a constraint, he also emphasized that improvement in road connectivity, electricity and education too had an impact in improving health care accessibility in the underserved areas.

He highlighted that considerable progress had been made in these sectors also during the UPA regime.

He agreed that developing managerial capacities at the District and Sub-district level was a challenge which the Mission was faced with, and also agreed to explore the possibilities of partnership with IAP in developing model districts across the country. (ANI)

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