India is witnessing a significant reduction in fresh cases of deadly HIV, which have come down by as much as 57 per cent, Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said on Tuesday.

“There have been significant fall in MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella), IMR (Infant Mortality rates) and TFR as well as reduction in new HIV cases by as much as 57 percent,” he said, while addressing the India Health Summit organised by CII here.

Azad said this will be the second successive year which will see a polio-free India, which is the longest polio-free period ever since eradication efforts were launched.

“We have stepped up efforts to meet public health challenges such as Influenza A- H1N1 pandemic and the credit goes to ICMR and our Indian manufacturers to have domestically develop testing regents and vaccines to combat H1N1,” Azad said.

He said ICMR is currently working on 75 leads of potential public health importance for development and evaluation of affordable diagnostics, including indigenously developed test for diabetes, TB and cancer.

The minister said the health ministry in the last three years have focused on reforming policies related to medical and paramedical education in order to meet the acute shortage of human resources in health.

“For these several policy decisions the availability of MBBS seats and PG seats will increase by 40 and 80 percent respectively. I am sure that by next year the increase in MBBS and PG seats will touch 50 percent and 100 percent respectively,” said Azad.

To meet shortage of nursing staff, Azad said his ministry has sanctioned 269 nursing schools with an outlay of Rs 2,030 crores. These institutions will produce an additional 20,000 nurses annually.

(This article was published on December 18, 2012)
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