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India To Provide Incentives For Medical Professionals To Work In Rural, Underserved Areas

In an effort to encourage medical professionals to provide services to low-income rural populations in India, Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad announced an initiative that will significantly raise the salary of “doctors, specialists and para-medical staff” who elect to work in “rural, particularly far-flung and inaccessible areas,” the Hindu reports.

The Health and Family Welfare Ministry will base monetary incentives on location. Azad said rural salaries could be almost double those earned by urban medical professionals. He added that the ministry will work with state governments over the next three months to identify gaps in the health system and figure out which areas are the most difficult and inaccessible, particularly in hilly states and tribal regions.

In addition, a “web-based Health Management Information System (HMIS) will be fully operational by July 31, 2009, to enable district-wise reporting of the progress of the [National Rural Health Mission] on a monthly, quarterly and annual basis. This will enable timely monitoring of physical and financial progress more effectively, he said,” the Hindu writes.

Azad also indicated that the ministry plans to reopen three vaccine manufacturing units, which had their licenses suspended last year because they did not comply with WHO standards (Dhar, 7/2).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.