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Gaurav Dahiya: How Gujarat is tackling its healthcare challenges keeping future in sight

Gaurav DahiyaNon-communicable diseases (NCDs) are currently posing the biggest future challenge for the healthcare sector, says Gaurav Dahiya, Mission Director, National Health Mission, Government of Gujarat, as he highlights the strategy of Gujarat to overcome them through new ideas and innovative interventions.

Presently, the entire public health strategy is focused on communicable diseases or infectious diseases. But in the coming years, according to the Indian Council for Medical Research, New Delhi, NCD is emerging as the biggest killer. So, there is an urgent need for new ideas, strategies and interventions to tackle the challenge, said Gaurav Dahiya, Mission Director, National Health Mission, Government of Gujarat, while addressing the 3rd Healthcare Summit Rajasthan in Jaipur recently.

“Gujarat is the capital of non-communicable diseases. Therefore, we are open to pick ideas on newer measures that we can take to contain NCDs in the State. We are going for a screening programme in a big way in Gujarat. It includes diabetes screening, hypertension screening, as well as cervical cancer screening. We are coming out with a robust programme linking screening with diagnosis and treatment and ensuring supply of all the drugs for these diseases,” he said.

Highlighting some innovative interventions the Government of Gujarat has undertaken, he said: “In Gujarat, we are also focusing on cleft lip and cleft palate. We have early intervention centres in each of the 33 districts of Gujarat for this. We have identified all the babies who are born with cleft lip and cleft palate in the last two years. We have conducted almost 3,000 surgeries and cured all the babies. We have tied up with private doctors as well as hospitals and public health institutions to launch a mass drive against cleft lip and cleft palate.”

Gujarat has also launched the Mukhyamantri Amrutum Yojna and Maa Vatsalya Yojana to address the issues of health insurance and free universal treatment to people below poverty line and people who are earning less than Rs 200,000 a year.

“The schemes have been running successfully. Suppose a baby belonging to a poor family has a hole in the heart or some cardiovascular anomaly and the family is unable to bear the cost of treatment. What we have done is that we have identified certain hospitals — both private and government to carry out treatment of such children. A smart card is issued to the family with less than Rs 200,000 annual income to facilitate the most expensive treatment which is paid by the Government of Gujarat,” Dahiya said.

“We are also doing very well in the National Dialysis Programme. We are ensuring that dialysis takes place in every district hospital.”

He informed that the Government of Gujarat is also going for introducing DNB courses. “We have so far identified six hospitals where DNB courses will be started. We have plans to start DNB courses in all 33 government hospitals in Gujarat to increase our specialist manpower,” Dahiya added.

Gujarat is also focusing on mental health programme in a big way. “In Ahmedabad, we have a mental hospital where we have opened a cafe called Parivartan Cafe for people suffering from mental health anamolies, who manage the cafe on their own. In consultation with Niti Aaayog, we have identified 11 issues to focus on for ensuring good health of the people of Gujarat,” the Mission Director of NHM Gujarat said.

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