The Bhamashah Swasthya Bima Yojana has done very well in Rajasthan. Over 25 lakh people have benefitted so far under this scheme since its launch on 13 December, 2015… We are also executing many PPP projects in various district hospitals. We are also one of those States where chemotherapy is available in many district hospitals, says Kali Charan Saraf, Minister for Medical, Health and Family Welfare, Government of Rajasthan, recently in an interview with Elets News Network (ENN).
Q Since joining the Department in 2016, how do you view the status of the Health Sector of Rajasthan?
I joined in December 2016 as Health Minister of Rajasthan. It is the geographically largest state of India with a less population density. There are very poor people in the village areas. We have desert, tribal population and hilly areas, etc . Thus, the biggest challenge has been to provide health services to all. I, along with my team of officers have worked hard to start many new initiatives. Today, these initiatives have given a new strength to our State. Hon’ble CM Vasundhara Raje has been kind enough to give full support to our Department. As a result, we have been able to do many things. Of these, recruitment of doctors is the single biggest achievement of my tenure. Many new super specialist doctors and medical practitioners have joined us. Further, we are under the process of starting many new medical colleges in Rajasthan. Many of them will see the light of the day this year.
It’s not a small feat. In just two years, I have been given a chance to start so many medical colleges which normally people start in 30 to 40 years. And I am very much thankful to Government of India for providing all the resources to start these medical colleges. In future, these medical colleges will provide a new breed of medical graduate and postgraduates. And the recruitment of doctors and nurses will give a new boost to health system. As vacancies have been a big challenge, now recruitment has started and a number of recruitment drives have already been completed.
Q The department has gained a lot from your vision and hard work, how do you envision your next three months?
These are the last three months of the present government. I can see that the health sector has done a very commendable job in these four years and nine months. Going forward, in the remaining three months, definitely, along with election work I shall be concentrating on the ongoing project and people will not face any difficulty in getting health services.
Hon’ble CM Vasundhara Raje will give us all the blessings which we are getting so far. So I am sure that many things which we have started recently will continue giving good results and the State will be one of the most progressive States in terms of health soon. I’m sure due to our good work in health, our government will return to power. And we will start many new initiatives and consolidate some of the previous schemes like Bhamashah Swasthya Bima Yojana, India’s biggest health insurance scheme so far.
Q What have been Bhamashah Swasthya Bima Yojana’s achievement and challenges?
Today, our health insurance scheme is the most talked about thing in the whole country. Now, hon’ble PM has started Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana in the entire country where coverage of Rs 5 lakh is given to a family. About 10 crore families will be given benefits. Our BJP Government at the Centre has thought this unique idea after so many years of independence. But our honourable CM also thought on the similar lines earlier in Rajasthan.
Our scheme has done very well and more than 25 lakh people so far have taken benefits under the scheme since its launch on 13 December 2015. In last 2 years and 9 months, we have been able to empanel 1,400+ hospitals and many rare diseases and serious diseases have been cured.
We have cured people with heart diseases, brain diseases, cancer, and spinal diseases and we are sure that people will keep continuing getting these services. There are few challenges also as private hospitals do not get paid on time or there are stray incidents of some misbehavior with the patients.
But our state health insurance agency, under the able guidance of Additional Chief Secretary, takes care of these problems and we have been able to manage all these challenges very well.
Q Can you share some of the things or initiatives that you would have done if you had the luxury of more time in the Government?
In my tenure, recruitment of doctors and the opening of new medical colleges were the biggest achievements. Along with that mobile dental vans were started in the entire State and Rajasthan is the only State so far in the country where mobile dental vans are going from village to village to offer medical help to the children diagnosed with dental problems. This is a very unique concept that has been designed by our NHM Mission director and has been implanted very well by them.
Along with that telemedicine project was started during my tenure and honourable CM was very enthusiastic about this. She believes that these facilities must be given to people living in remote locations. Today, 100 remote centres have been connected to a central hub through our telemedicine system.
More than 10, 000 consultations are now being done (on an average) for the last one year. It is the greatest achievement for us because many Indian states have tried to start telemedicine projects in last one decade. But very little success has been achieved by them. And now many States are following our model.
We are also executing many PPP projects in many district hospitals. We are also one of those States where chemotherapy is available in many district hospitals.
CT scan, MRF, IVF and hemodialysis with private vendors in PPP mode are now available. The kind of services available at these district hospitals of Rajasthan is commendable and a lot of credit goes to our honourable CM and our official of the health department.
If I get another chance to serve, I would start the remaining medical colleges which have been sanctioned by Government of India. I would like to transform them into state-of-theart centres and try to give maximum facilities in all the districts.
As you know, honourable PM has started health and wellness centres, we would like to expand that concept in many more sub-centres. I believe soon Rajasthan will be able to achieve more success in providing health services like many other progressive States. In brief, it would be no more a Beemaru states, as was once described.