Govt launches ambitious healthcare plan
HT Correspondent
(New Delhi, May 25)

AN AMBITIOUS plan has been started by the Government to provide technological back up to the healthcare infrastructure in the country to make it more efficient in responding to people's needs.

Speaking at a conference of the State health secretaries and co-ordinators of implementing agencies of the national programme of orientation of officers here today, Principle Scientific Adviser to the Government, Dr A P J Abdul Kalam, said a group of scientists were working to evolve the concept of tele-medicine, which would be made possible by linking the Primary Health Centres (PHCs) to district hospitals and other like places.

The conference was organised by the Rehabilitation Council of India and was presided over by its chairman Thakur V Hari Prasad.

Talking about the rehabilitation of disabled persons, Dr Kalam said that any rehabilitation effort would become successful only through integration of healthcare with economic activity at the community level. It could be achieved through a co-ordinated effort among the existing multiple agencies - local government, education, business and healthcare.

He expressed hope that the dream to bring the PHCs on a high-tech connectivity will soon become a 'web of life' which will serve the grassroots of the society with "nutrients of our technological strength and industrial prosperity."

Dr Kalam further stressed the need to integrate rehabilitation programmes with the public health network. It would be an effective method to reach the large disabled population.

Earlier, inaugurating the conference, Social Justice Minister Maneka Gandhi said that problems of the rural disabled would be mitigated only through imparting training to doctors operating at the PHC levels. They could also play an important role to educate the poor and illiterate.

Drawing attention to the total neglect of disabled sector in the national planning, Th. Hari Prasad stressed the need for an integrated effort by making the disability sector an important component of education and healthcare planning. How could schemes like education for all be successful by keeping the large population of disabled persons out of its purview, he asked.
Source : The Hindustan Times. May 26, 2000