Ministry of External Affairs25-August, 2007 17:23 IST
Address of Minister for External Affairs, Shri Pranab Mukherjee on the occasion of the Foundation Laying Ceremony of the New Children’s Hospital, Tirupati

The following is the text of the address of Union Minister for External Affairs, Shri Pranab Mukherjee on the occasion of the Foundation Laying Ceremony of the New Children’s Hospital, Tirupati, today:

“Hon’ble Chief Minister Dr.Rajasekhar Reddy and
His Cabinet Colleagues,
Deputy Speaker, Dr.Kuthuhalamma,
Dr. Chinta Mohan, M.P. and Special Invitees,
Distinguished Members of the Legislative Assembly &
Dignitaries Present,
Ladies & Gentlemen.

I am extremely happy to be present here with you all in the Foundation Laying ceremony of this New Children’s Hospital and Maternity Ward in this temple town of Tirupati under the blessings of Sri Lord Balaji.

I am glad to know that Sri Venkateswara Ram Narayan Ruia Government Hospital, Tirupati, constructed at the foot of the seven hills of Tirumala, the abode of Lord Venkateswara, has made tremendous progress. What began as a small hospital with a paltry donation of Rs.5 lakhs from Sri Radha Krishna N. Ruia, a philanthropist from Bombay and a generous grant of 15 lakhs from Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) in 1962, has risen to become a big hospital with a bed strength of 750 beds having super-specialty departments like Neurosurgery, Neurology, Plastic Surgery, Pediatric surgery, Nephrology & Surgical oncology. I am also happy to note that this hospital has become the main referral hospital in this region serving the people belonging to low socio-economic status, scheduled castes, tribes, backward classes & other underprivileged sections of the community.

With the establishment of the New Children’s hospital, I sincerely hope that the aspirations of the people of this region will be fulfilled and this public institution will serve for the improvement of the child health especially the provision of much needed sophisticated care for the high risk new born children.

Under the mandate of the National Common Minimum Programme of the UPA Government, health care is one of the seven thrust areas. In keeping with this perspective, the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) was launched throughout the country in 2005 with special focus on improving health status of vulnerable population by ensuring accessibility and availability of quality primary health care and family welfare services to them.

The main aim of NRHM is to provide accessible, affordable, accountable, effective and reliable primary health care especially to poor and vulnerable sections of the population. The Mission addresses the issue of health in the context of improvement of sanitation, hygiene, nutrition and safe drinking water as basic determinants of good health in order to have greater convergence among the related departments like Women & Child Development, Sanitation, Elementary education, Panchayati Raj and Rural Development. It seeks to build greater ownership of the programme among the community through involvement of Panchayati Raj institutions, NGOs and all stakeholders in pursuance to the National Health Policy which includes reduction of Infant mortality rate to less than 30 per 1000 live births, maternal mortality to less than 100 per 1 lakh live births and to see that 80% and above deliveries are conducted in institutions by trained personnel.

The Millennium Development Goals representing commitments by governments throughout the world in the area of development and reduction of poverty & hunger place ‘health’ at the heart of development; 18 of the 48 indicators of progress are health related and many of the goals are related to improvement of maternal & child health. The Government of India has committed itself to achieve the main goals like reduction of three quarters of maternal mortality rate, reduction of two thirds of under five mortality rate and to reduce the prevalence of malnutrition among under five years children and infant mortality rate significantly by 2015.

The achievements of the National Rural Health Mission are highly encouraging. There has been a significant reduction in Infant mortality and Maternal Mortality since the onset of the programme. I am glad to note that the State of Andhra Pradesh has made remarkable progress in the field of Maternal and Child Health with the Infant Mortality rate being brought down to 57 per 1000 live births and Maternal mortality rate to around 290 per 1 lakh live births which by all standards is commendable. The State has registered a decadal growth rate of 14% compared to 21% for All India. The Sex ratio is favourable to the women compared to the All India figures. Thus, appreciable achievements have been made in many health & development parameters in the state of Andhra Pradesh. The setting-up of the New Children’s Hospital under NHRM is another significant step in this direction.

I wish all success to this new hospital and hope that this institution provides all the medical facilities required and also serves as an effective partner in promoting medical research & training to all the health care providers. I am sure; this new hospital will be a boon to the improvement of Child health care services in this region.

            Thank you.”

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NSD/MK


(Release ID :30671)