New Delhi: Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Mansukh Mandaviya announced on Sunday that undergraduate medical courses (MBBS) will start from next year in Bhopal Memorial Hospital and Research Centre (BMHRC), a facility developed for victims of the 1984 gas tragedy.

Mandaviya, speaking to reporters after a meeting at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), also said MBBS seats have more than doubled to one lakh nationwide.

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“Various issues related to BMHRC were discussed and analysed. The medical facility is not able to give its proper output for the past some time. We have decided to start the MBBS course there (BMHRC) from next year,” he told reporters, adding that the best medical infrastructure will be made available at BMHRC.

He said the post-graduate medical course, which is already underway at the institution, will be expanded and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) will ensure the availability of the faculty through transfer from other parts of the country.

“MBBS seats in the country have doubled to one lakh to ensure availability of more doctors in the country. This will also ensure availability of specialist doctors and subsequently sort out the problem of faculty shortage in medical colleges,” he said.

Meanwhile, addressing the inaugural session workshop on ‘holistic management of sickle cell disease’ in Jabalpur, Mandviya said the government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi always thinks in totality and was working in detail on where the health sector should reach in the next 25 years.

“The government is developing 1.50 lakh health and wellness centres to provide medical facilities to the rural population. Of these, 1.18 lakh centres have already started working through the facility of teleconsultation,” he said.

Mandviya said amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centre has launched Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission with an estimated cost of Rs 64,000 crore.

Addressing the workshop, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said the screening campaign for sickle cell genetic blood diseases will soon be extended from two to 14 districts in the state and a roadmap for the same is being prepared.

He stressed the need to find solutions to diseases through Yoga and Ayurveda apart from Allopathy.

MP Governor Mangubhai Patel also addressed the workshop and said there was a need to create awareness about sickle cell.

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