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Chhattisgarh Frontrunner in ICT-enabled Healthcare Initiatives

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Dr Sarveshwar Narendra Bhure

To transform healthcare ecosystem, the Government of Chhattisgarh is actively introducing the ICT-enabled Healthcare Initiatives. Its Mitanin Programme later turned ASHA for the Government of India, says Dr Sarveshwar Narendra Bhure, Mission Director, National Health Mission (NHM), Government of Chhattisgarh, in conversation with Elets News Network (ENN).

Q How would you describe the healthcare scenario in Chhattisgarh?

Chhattisgarh is relatively a new State, as it came into existence 17 years ago only. We have improved a lot on various healthcare indicators. This can be felt easily if someone compares State’s existing facilities with the past. It is a kind of big jump.

This is due to people-friendly policies of the State Government and the kind of importance it is giving to the healthcare sector. We are spending almost 5.75 per cent of the State budget on healthcare and fund utilisation is almost 90 per cent. We have robust system in place with which we ensure delivery of health indicators on time.

Q What are the healthcare initiatives which have benefitted people of the State the most?

Most of the healthcare initiatives that Chhattisgarh Government adopted later became national initiative. For example, the Chhattisgarh Government started Mitanin Programme which later became ASHA for the Government of India. Even the concept of NHRC was started by the State Government.

Similarly, the Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK) was also adopted by the Government of India. We have many achievements to our credit in healthcare sector.

Q What are some of the upcoming projects of the State Government to cater to people related to healthcare ecosystem?

We are facing one of the biggest problems of anemia amongst pregnant women. Containing the disease is one of the biggest challenges for the State Government. We have started extensive awareness programme and trying to improve the nutritional status of pregnant women.

With the help of the Government of India, we have distributed 50 lakh mosquito nets within the families to control the menace of malaria.

In addition, we are going for a drive to contain anemia among school-going children. Then we have system of Universal Health Coverage. All those families which were not covered by Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna (RSBY) are now being covered under Mukhyamantri Swasthya Bima Yojana (MSBY) or, the Chief Minister insurance scheme. For hearing defect, amongst newborn babies, we are providing free treatment to the tune of 3 to 4 lakh. We are also going for mass screening of population for noncommunicable diseases (NCDs).

Q How do you perceive the role of ICT in spreading public awareness about healthcare facilities?

ICT or, the Information and Communication Technology is now a cornerstone in healthcare sector. Because of Baster Net project, now our connectivity in the southern part of State has improved. Our internal system is dependent on the HMI (Human Machine Interface). We have some of our in house softwares also. Monitoring and evaluation of programmes are done with the help of ICT tools. Even we are going for PFMS (Public Financial Management System) tool which will facilitate financial transactions. We are forerunner in the race ICT.

Q Many areas are still backward in Chhattisgarh. What are the major challenges you face in implementing ICTs strategies in these areas?

Definitely the connectivity has been an issue in some parts of the State. We have connectivity issues in sub-health centres and some of the primary healthcare centre too. But because of the Buster Net project things will improve soon. Moreover, we have arranged small VSAT in these areas which lack basic facilities.

Q How do you view the scope for medical tourism Chhattisgarh?

The State has progressed a lot on this front. We are growing in terms of number of doctors per patients and quality of healthcare delivery. The Raipur Medical College is considered as one of the best hospitals within the country. We are having 200 plus postgraduate seats in the State. Many private players and big chain hospitals have come forward considering Chhattisgarh as one of the area for promotion for healthcare Industry. We can expect better tourism in coming days. Even in terms of organ transplant we are moving ahead. Very soon, we will have all the cases of organ transplants in the State.

Q Do you have any policy supporting medical tourism and investment in Naya Raipur and Chhattisgarh?

In Government sector, we are largely focusing to cater healthcare needs of the residents of the State. The private healthcare hospitals are mainly into medical tourism.

Q How would you rank Chhattisgarh on a scale of 1-10 in providing healthcare facilities in comparison to other States of India?

Our motive is to provide best healthcare facilities to the people of the State. Chhattisgarh is doing wonders on this front. We are embracing innovative ideas and follow on the footprints of other States if they take up some good initiatives. We are at 5th position in entire country in the latest report published by NITI Aayog in terms of progress on incremental change in health parameters.

Q Tell us about some of the healthcare projects set to benefit people in a great way in coming years.

We are facing problem of anemia amongst pregnant women. Our strategy is to exterminate anemia and ensure safe delivery. The ‘Lakshya programme’ has been launched with the same motive. It is basically labour room quality improvement initiative.

Moreover, we are developing thyroid clinics and endocrinology department to make things better on healthcare front. We are coming up with a Government funded super specialty hospital, DKS Super Specialty Hospital to foster healthcare delivery.

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