Tribal population’s welfare of utmost importance — Harsh Vardhan
New Delhi, Dec. 10 (IANS): Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Thursday emphasised that the health and well-being of India’s tribal population is of utmost importance to the government.
In his address at the curtain raiser ceremony by ICMR-National Institute of Research in Tribal Health, Jabalpur as a part of 6th India International Science Festival 2020, he said: “IISF, launched in 2015, has always been about showcasing the progress of science and its application for the betterment of the lives of our people..”
Noting that the ICMR-NIRTH, Jabalpur is the only institute wholly dedicated to biomedical research on health and social issues related to the tribal population, he said: “It is a matter of concern that our tribal population today suffers from a high prevalence of malnutrition, genetic disorders and infectious diseases.”
“Often residing in hard to reach areas with difficult terrains, our tribal population has had inequitable access to benefits of our significant advancements in science, technology as well as public health services,” he said.
Harsh Vardhan emphasised that the health and well-being of the tribal population is of utmost importance to the government. “We have been taking a slew of measures in this regard. In 2018, an expert committee constituted jointly by Ministry of Health and Ministry of Tribal Affairs, identified 10 major concerns that need immediate attention for the well-being of tribes and started working towards it,” he added.
The Union Minister congratulated ICMR for its extraordinary contribution in bio-medical research, and lauded ICMR-NIRTH, Jabalpur for developing indigenous strategies for strengthening the health services in the unreached areas.
“ICMR-NIRTH has successfully demonstrated PPP models for reduction of tuberculosis among Saharia tribes and reduction in cases of malaria in the tribal district of Mandla in Madhya Pradesh. This prestigious institution has developed strategies for controlling prevalence of fluoride, anaemia and inherited haemoglobinopathies like sickle-cell disease among tribal populations.”
The experience learnt in all these efforts will be of immense help not only for researchers and academicians but also for policy makers for improving health of the marginalised sections of our population, he added.
The 6th IISF-2020 is being organized by Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the Department of Science and Technology (DST), the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and the Vijnana Bharati (VIBHA).