Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has cleared a Rs. 4,697 crore project to open 70 speciality centres nationwide to treat lifestyle ailments and cancer that kill more people annually than infectious diseases.
The plan, ahead of the 2014 polls, also includes a steep increase in the number of government medical college seats to produce more specialist doctors.
Twenty super-speciality hospitals across the country, a majority at state capitals, will be built to treat cancer patients exclusively. The hospitals are planned in such a way that people from all areas can find a facility near them, said an official.
Fifty tertiary medical centers for heart and diabetes patients would also be set up to tackle lifestyle epidemics.
Eight out of ten deaths in urban India and six out of ten in rural India are due to heart diseases, cancer, respiratory diseases and diabetes, a recent World Health Organisation study revealed.
The mega health plan aims to bridge the acute shortage of doctors. In the first phase, medical colleges that have 100 seats will be helped to increase capacity by 100-150 seats depending on their infrastructure, a source said.