Despite being labelled as a populist measure by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Karnataka’s Budget has provided a great push to the healthcare sector in the state with allocation to departments of Health and Family Welfare and Medical Education increasing to the tune of Rs 876 crore from the previous year’s Rs 6,646 crore.
With the government focussing on tackling the increasing incidence of lifestyle and non-communicable diseases, five super specialty hospitals have been proposed in Vijayapura, Davanagere, Tumakuru, Ramanagara and Kolar for the treatment of cancer and heart diseases.
The Budget also aims to promote traditional systems of medicine in the state. To achieve this goal, integrated Ayush hospitals with 50 beds capacity will be set up in Chitradurga and Chickamagaluru district hospitals at a total cost of Rs 6 crore. The government will also establish an Ayush drugs manufacturing centre in the premises of Belagavi City Immunisation Centre at a cost of Rs 5 crore.
The Budget also proposes to integrate 1,538 ambulances under two different departments to make available at least one ambulance for every 10 to 15 kms or 35,000 population.
Interestingly, this year the 104-year-old Minto Ophthalmic Hospital in Chamrajpet caught the attention of the government and Rs 10 crore have been allocated for its development as a super speciality hospital. Wenlok Hospital in Mangaluru will also be upgraded at a cost of Rs 10 crore. Upgradation of Indiranagar ESI hospital and Tuberculosis Hospital are also on the card.
Among other measures the government has proposed to improve healthcar services in the state included a 20-bedded poly trauma centre and 10-bedded ICU with ventilator at Sanjay Gandhi Accident Trauma and Rehabilitation Centre in Bengaluru; dialysis centres in 114 talukas and blood transfusion units in 10 district hospitals; and strengthening of PHCs through various initiatives like extension dispensaries having one doctor, one nurse, and one pharmacist to be established at a cost of Rs 10 lakh in villages where the distance from the PHC is more than 10 km.
In order to overcome the shortage of specialised doctors in government hospitals, state-run medical colleges will commence DNB post graduate course, the Chief Minister said, adding that salaries for health workers will also be increased.