The Government of Jharkhand is trying to strengthen the primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare at all levels. So at one level all the district hospitals and First Referral Units (FRUs) have been strengthened with blood banks, says Nidhi Khare, Principal Secretary, Department of Health & Family Welfare, Government of Jharkhand, in conversation with Elets News Network (ENN).
Q How do you analyse healthcare industry in Jharkhand?
As per the Indian Public Health Standards (IPHS) norms, there is lot of wanting in terms of both health infrastructure as well as manpower in this field including doctors, specialists, GNM staff nurses, ANM, paramedics and other health service providers. However, the State Government is opening five new Government Medical colleges. An AIIMS at Deoghar is being set up in 236 acre area.
Q What initiatives have been taken recently to improve healthcare delivery in the State? We are trying to strengthen the primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare at all levels. So at one level all the district hospitals and First Referral Units (FRUs) have been strengthened with blood banks. The Government has made available the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) facilities for neonatal and maternal care. Free drugs and diagnostics have been made available. A decision has been taken to start dialysis at all district hospitals in PPP mode. Quality services are being strengthened at all maternal OTs, particularly, those experiencing more than 100 deliveries a month.
Q To provide the universal health coverage, the Narendra Modi Government recently announced Ayushman Bharat programme, how is the State Government planning to implement the scheme?
Jharkhand is one of the frontline States in terms of preparedness for Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY). Today, we have signed an MoU with National Health Agency. Our list of 25 lakh beneficiaries, as per SECC database, is completely digitised, Aadhaar seeded and verified.
However, the other 32 lakh beneficiaries, who are part of Food Security Act database would also be extended the same benefits of insurance coverage up to Rs five lakhs under the Mukhyamantri Swasthya Bima Yojana. A State Health Agency has been created to implement and closely supervise the various issues arising in the implementation of universal health coverage under the Ayushman Bharat scheme.
Q Jharkhand Cabinet recently passed a proposal stating any student passing out from the States medical college will have to serve three years in the State. Tell us more about this proposal.
This proposal is with a view to retain doctors in the public health system as the State has only 300 MBBS Seats. Hence, there is great dearth of doctors for far-flung tribal areas. To fill in the gap of medical practitioners, the State has increased the superannuation age from 60 to 65 years. Doctors/ super specialists are also being engaged on contract. Thus, the bond amount for students joining Jharkhand Government medical colleges for higher studies has been increased from Rs 10 lakhs to Rs 30 lakhs. They will be liable to pay if they discontinued the course in the middle or fail to serve mandatory three years in public health.
Q The Government hospitals often lack modern equipment and cutting-edge technology in comparison to private healthcare providers. Off late what steps have been undertaken to improve the situation on this front?
Of the several steps undertaken by us, Free Medicines, Free Diagnostics (CT SCAN, MRI etc ), ICU (NICU/ PICU)- are few of them. With the target to establish more than 700 Health and Wellness centres in the States, the hospitals are further going to be strengthened. Now, they would have modern facilities of screening for diabetes, hypertension, cervical/ oral/ breast cancer, TB detection.