North East region can become the new hub of healthcare enterprise in the country. But the change can happen only when more funds, particularly from corporate, is invested in healthcare sector, informs Bolung Siram, Commissioner Health and Family Welfare, Itanagar, Government of Arunachal Pradesh, in a tete-a-tete with Prathiba Raju of Elets News Network (ENN)
What potential do the North Eastern states hold in healthcare domain?
North East is far removed from the mainland India and availability of modern healthcare services in many states in the region is still an issue. Therefore in view of this; the potential in healthcare domain is big, if not substantial. Although a good number of private hospitals have come up in the region such in the state of Assam but then super specialty services are still far from being satisfactory in the region.
What are the key steps taken by the ministry to boost the healthcare delivery in Arunachal Pradesh?
Ministry has taken various steps to boost the healthcare services in the state. We concentrate on the outpatient, inpatient services and operation theatre services in government hospitals which are hospital based. Disease control strategy in the community through program such as Revised National TB Control Program (RNTCP), National Vector Borne Disease Control Program (NVBDCP), National Leprosy Eradication Program, AIDS control program, Blindness Control Program, Integrate Disease Surveillance Program etc which are under the umbrella of NHM. Maternal and Child Health services are provided through Ante Natal Care services & Routine Immunisation of all children in all health facilities. Under Rastriya Bal Suraksha Karyakram (RBSK) all children under 18 years of age in school are screened for heath related issues which include children who have dropped out. Rational deployment of manpower to health facilities.
We are also concentrating on the constant upgradation of district hospitals to general hospitals in four districts, construction of 50 bedded district hospitals, up gradation of CHCs, PHCs & Sub centers & placement of requisite man power are already underway.
How much of GDP is spent on healthcare towards the state? Do you think more should be invested on the same? Reason.
4.48 per cent of total fund allocation to state of Arunachal Pradesh in FY 2013- 14 was spent in healthcare sector. More North East Healthcare in Revival Mode financial inputs are required to bring it at par with the states like Tamil Nadu and Kerala in terms of healthcare, infrastructure development & human resource development. North East being distantly located from main land India, high cost index & lack of skilled manpower are the reasons why more funds should be invested in health sector.
Inputs in training of manpower are needed because of the fact that no skilled personnel from outside the region have the desire to serve in the region.
What steps should be taken to boost health fraternity in the North East?
The NE region needs more super speciality hospitals and establishment of AIIMS and Apollo like health facilities in the region. Also interstate referral services would help. To meet the skill gap continuing medical education of medical manpower and digitisation of healthcare delivery system is necessary.
How Universal Health Insurance Scheme is helping Arunachal Pradesh to enable quality healthcare?
Arunachal Pradesh Chief Ministers Universal Health Insurance Scheme (APCMUHIS) is the brain child of NabumTuki; Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh has given health insurance coverage to all the families of the state. This unique scheme has made healthcare services available to the people at free of cost. In addition to this it has paved an easy access to tertiary healthcare services to people especially belonging to low income group in cashless manner.
This has also facilitated reverse flow of fund to government hospitals thereby removing fund constraints for routine management of hospitals such as renovation, procurement of medicines and consumables etc. This has ensured perennial supply of hospital requirements throughout the year which in previous instance the patient had to purchase thereby a burden on poor patient.
Is NRHM helping the state to boost the healthcare domain?
National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) has effectively boosted the healthcare domain in the state; ever since the launch of this program the infrastructure development has been practically revolutionised.Under NRHM program the Human Resource management in terms of placement & capacity building has been accomplished under NRHM.
Availability of super specialty services in the state is still far from being satisfactory and has a long way to go
How is National Health Mission Free Drug Service and RBSK initiatives working for the state. Any new scheme in the pipeline?
Under RBSK every school of the state has been put on in the picture of health coverage. Besides screening for various diseases including congenital anomalies and twice a year compulsory de worming is done under this scheme. Iron , folic acid tablet weekly administration and counseling of adolescent students are routinely done. Under Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakram (JSSK) free drugs and consumables are provided to patients especially pregnant mothers & new born.
Under RBSK the achievement so far:
- number of school screened: 116496
- number of AWW covered: 1043
- number of children screened in AWW: 33550
Medical tourism is still an unexplored area which needs further contemplation in our set up. But building a health related spa can be considered taking in view of relatively pollution free environment and scenic locations.
Any assistance or help given to rural health practitioners by your government?
There is no rural practitioner system in healthcare delivery system in existence in our state. Although under PPP mode a good number of primary health centres are being managed by NGO funding of which is given by NHM.
What is the current status of the state in adoption of technology in healthcare?
The hospitals are equipped with latest biomedical equipments and training of human resource in relevant subjects is done periodically. Appointment of biomedical instrumentation engineers in health department is also a proposal under active consideration. The state of the art medical machineries are yet to be a part of healthcare delivery system in the state except in R K Mission hospital where CT scan and MRI is done. Availability of super specialty services in the state is still far from being satisfactory and has a long way to go due to HR constraints.
Do you think there is enough corporate participation in the state when it comes to healthcare?
Corporate participation in healthcare delivery in the state is in form of CSR donation. Donation of mobility support such ambulances, building of health infrastructures and equipments are some of the activities done by corporate sector.
As such there is no hospital run by corporate sector in the state so far. Oil India, NHPC, ONGC etc are some of the companies provide help under CSR.
In five years from now how do you see the growth in the healthcare domain?
In consideration to growing health consciousness by the people, the demand for health infrastructures and skilled manpower will increase exponentially. With the present momentum of infrastructure development, skilled manpower placement and enhanced inputs the state will place itself close to achieving Indian Public Health Standard of all health facilities in five year time from now.