Kohima: Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare, Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, Government of India, Harsh Vardhan Friday urged upon the people of Nagaland and the State Government to ensure that all the poor are covered under Ayushman Bharat, adding that the Centre’s assurance of support to Nagaland and North East is not just theory but out of pure intention and concern for the region.
Laying the foundation stone of Mon Medical College at the District Hospital at Mon in Nagaland he stated that in five to six years, the Government has been able to increase the number of MBBS seats from 50,000 to 80,000 and 20,000 more Post Graduate seats.
He also stated that 1, 50,000 Health and Wellness Centres (HWC) are in process of development across the country with 370 such HWCs under progress in Nagaland. He stated that he brings good wishes and blessings from the Prime Minister and assured that the warm sentiments of the people of Mon shall be conveyed to the Prime Minister.
The Minister stated that as part of Narendra Modi’s Cabinet, he has seen how committed the Prime Minister is for the people of North East and that hardly any meeting concludes without the Prime Minister raising concern for the development of North East region. The laying of the foundation stone shows the commitment of the Government to ensure that the people of the most remote and interior parts of the country are not deprived of development, he added.
Dr. Vardhan congratulated Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio and Minister of Health and Family Welfare S Pangnyu Phom for the proactive steps taken towards bringing the project into reality. Since coming into power in 2014, there are 157 Medical Colleges across the country under various stages of development, with Mon Medical College being part of 75 Medical Colleges approved by the Centre in 2019, he stated. He stated that the vision of creating 75 new Medical Colleges was to improve the healthcare facilities in areas which have been deprived of development over the decades. The Union Minister also highlighted the great work done by COVID warriors who risked their own lives for the safety of all. The Minister stated that he along with all the Health Ministers and the Prime Minister along with all the Chief Ministers worked together with utmost diligence to tackle the COVID crisis. He further acknowledged the State Government for tackling the crisis appropriately.
He also expressed his vision to eliminate Tuberculosis (TB) from the country by 2025 which is 5 years prior to the global goal 2030. “India despite being a big country, if we could eliminate Smallpox and Polio, if India could survive COVID -19, we can definitely eliminate TB by 2025”, the Minister added. He further urged upon the Chief Minister to make a commitment to eliminate TB in the State much before 2025.
Dr. Vardhan also expressed desire for India to be the first nation to achieve the goal of health for all. He further appealed upon the people and children of Mon to contribute towards the realisation of the dream of the Prime Minister for a new India by 2022 when India celebrates its 75th Independence Day. “A new India where there is a smile in all faces, where the children are safe and secure, where dignity of women is valued, where senior citizens are taken care of and proper healthcare for the poor is available, a country filled with humanism and nationalism”, he added.
Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, while addressing the gathering stated that he was privileged to be part of this historic occasion and on behalf of the State, expressed gratitude to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan. He further acknowledged the presence of Dr. Harsh Vardhan for the laying of the foundation stone despite his busy schedule. He stated that his presence exhibits the Government’s concern and commitment for the region. He stated that when Kiphire got the “Aspirational District,” he thought of doing something for Mon. The opportunity came when Prime Minister came up with the brilliant idea to set up 75 medical colleges in regions which were earlier deprived of development in various parameters where Mon district was eligible, he stated. Rio stated that with the completion of Mon Medical College, it would not only benefit Mon and Nagaland, but also the neighboring States of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh and across the border into Myanmar.
Rio stated that the Mon Medical College would be completed on a turnkey basis where only one company will execute all the work to ensure timely completion. He also stated that the college would function/operate in a Public Private Partnership (PPP) model. Rio also highlighted about the 390 appointment made during the Pandemic in order to address the shortage of healthcare manpower in the State although fresh appointments had been banned.
He appealed upon the people and the NGOs and CSOs to cooperate and support the project in order to make the long lasting dream into a reality.
Minister of Health & Family Welfare, S Pangnyu Phom while addressing the gathering stated that Nagaland has never had the privilege of having two Medical Colleges being sanctioned by the Centre. He stated that the desire to establish medical college was not only to produce more manpower but also to enhance healthcare delivery. He stated that the State at the time of Statehood inherited a deplorable state of health care facility, however over the years healthcare in the state has improved although much is needed to be done.
Earlier upon his arrival, Dr. Harsh Vardhan was given the Rashtriya Salute in Mon Helipad. Cultural troops from various villages and organisations welcomed the Union Minister across entire stretch from Helipad to District Hospital Mon. The event was attended by Nutan Goel wife of Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Cabinet Ministers of Government of Nagaland, Advisers, Members of Legislative Assembly and other invitees.