Aligarh: Kapil Sibal, minister for HRD, communications and IT on Saturday said that the Muslim community in India was at the "bottom of the pile" as far as healthcare was concerned.
"It is unfortunate, but health parameters indicate that the Muslim community in India are at the bottom of the pile. We face great challenges in the field of health. Our health services in rural areas are inadequate, availability of doctors and trained health personnel is far from satisfactory, Sibal said while addressing an audience at the Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College of the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU).
He added: "The cost of healthcare is creeping up beyond the reach of the common people. Lower level of education and income, which are important social determinants of our nation's health, also severely affect health outcomes in rural areas as well as amongst the Muslim community."
Sibal was the chief guest at the ceremony held to observe the golden jubilee of the college.
He also called upon AMU students to play their due role "by coming forward and fulfilling the dreams of their founding father, Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, by playing a lead role in serving their environment through poverty and illness elimination programmes".
Earlier, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Ghulam Nabi Azad inaugurated the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Diabetes and Endocrinology, built at a cost of Rs 397.81 lakh.
Azad also laid down the foundation stone for the upgradation of Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College hospital under Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojna (PMSSY), Phase-II at a cost of Rs.150 lakh.
Addressing the golden jubilee celebrations of JN Medical College at the Kennedy Auditorium, Azad announced that 19 medical colleges of the country including JN Medical College were being upgraded to the level of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences.
He also announced that the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare would provide all financial grants and amenities at par with those of top central government hospitals in New Delhi.