Telangana, the youngest State of India which came into existence barely in 2014, is drawing much attention due to its various futuristic schemes that are winning accolades from far and wide. Little is known about how this State is building a consolidated healthcare ecosystem for all, writes Sudheer Goutham of Elets News Network (ENN).
The State is driven by the vision of developing a ‘Healthy Telangana’ through an effective and ideal Healthcare Model. With a mission to ensure — ‘Good Health for All’ — Telangana is fast emerging as a leader in the country by implementing various first-of-its-kind and effective healthcare initiatives.
While announcing a health programme in the State, Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao recently said, “Health profile of entire Telangana state through health check-up of every citizen of the State, starting from the Governor to the last man will be created.”
“Irrespective of the income, caste, creed or religion, every citizen of the State can avail the annual holistic health check-up,” he added. Telangana State has rolled out some of the finest healthcare programmes that are being appreciated and adapted by the governments across the country, while some of them are even being included in the National Health Mission Programmes.
While underlining the Telangana Government’s work and plans in the area of healthcare, Dr S K Joshi, Chief Secretary of the State, asserted, “It’s the aim of the Telangana Government to take improved healthcare delivery to every household in an affordable manner. In this wake, Telangana Government has taken a slew of measures to boost healthcare delivery system.”
“Our Aarogyasri, Kanti Velugu and ‘KCR Kit’ are the examples of our commitment. In this regard many more initiatives are in the offing,” Dr Joshi added. After the formation of the Telangana State on June 2, 2014, the new government invented, revamped and introduced innovative healthcare programmes.
Simultaneously, standalone health schemes have been also launched in the form of T-Diagnostics, T-Dialysis, KCR Kits and direct cash benefit scheme for pregnant women, Basthi Dawakhanas. The Government has allocated huge funds for the infrastructure, drawing patients to state-run health institutions.
KCR KITS AND AMMA ODI
To improve the health of newborn child and mother, the Telangana Government launched two welfare programmes — KCR Kits and Amma Odi with financial assistance. The flagship scheme was launched on June 2, 2017 by the Chief Minister and simultaneously by his team across the State. The government earmarked Rs 605 crores in 2017 Budget.
While launching the KCR Kit programme, the then Telangana State Health Minister Dr C Laxma Reddy said, “A healthy State can be achieved starting from the better healthcare and medical facilities of the newborns and KCR Kits is part of the plan.”
The programme provides financial and medical assistance to women undergoing delivery of the child at any government hospital in the State. The programme aims to reduce the Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) and Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR). The Aadhar- based Mother and Child Tracking System (MCTS) software is used by healthcare workers to track women at every stage of pregnancy.
Following the delivery, the mother is provided with a KCR Kit. It consists of 16 items including clothes, quality baby soaps, baby oil, baby powder, mosquito nets, toys, napkins, and diapers. These are necessary to keep newborn babies (neonates) warm and hygienic and sufficient for three months.
Amma Odi provides transport facility for pregnant women before and after delivery across the State. The scheme was launched by Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao in January 2018, after the success of KCR Kit. To avails this, all one requires is dial “102”.
Under the scheme, any pregnant woman can use Free 102 Service Van to visit the hospital and be dropped off at no cost. It can be used any number of times as necessary. After the delivery, the mother along with the newborn are dropped at their home after being discharged from the hospital.
Presently, there are 241 multi-utility vehicles, GPS-tracked, with capacity for 10 patients. Each district is allotted 6-8 vehicles. The call center to avail the service is based in Hyderabad and functions daily between 8 AM to 8 PM for entire year. By 2018-end another 200 vehicles were to be added to the existing strength of 241.
In this, the mother will be provided with financial assistance of Rs 12,000 (Rs 13,000 for a girl child) to compensate for the loss of work during the pregnancy and post- natal period. This amount will be provided in installment with the last two installments paid after child vaccination. The money is sent as direct cash transfer to individual Aaadhaar- lined accounts of pregnant women in the State.
The scheme is available for women who give birth at Government hospitals, for a maximum of two deliveries.
So far, the KCR Kits and Direct Cash Benefit scheme have achieved a unique landmark of touching lives of over 10 lakh pregnant women in the State.
The scheme has continued to attract expecting mothers to its fold, with cumulative registrations since its launch in June, 2017 reaching a record 11,42,582 women out of which 10,00,343 are pregnant women, while the remaining 1,42,221 have already delivered.
The Direct Cash Benefit, which is part of the KCR Kits scheme, too has benefitted close to one lakh women in the State. In fact, this year between January and October, the authorities have released a whopping Rs 243.12 crore to the beneficiaries at four different stages of pregnancy to women.
Public health experts and senior paediatricians pointed out that since its inception, the KCR Kits and Direct Cash Transfer scheme have become the centre piece initiatives solely aimed at saving mothers and infants, in addition to drawing them back to State-run healthcare institutions for deliveries.
INCREASE IN INSTITUTIONAL DELIVERIES
Conservative estimates from persons familiar with KCR Kits scheme in Telangana acknowledge that institutional deliveries in districts now have increased by at least 40 percent, while in urban centres, it hovers between 20 percent and 35 percent.
Needless to say, the drastic jump in admissions has stretched State-run healthcare institutions.
Dr Naga Mani, Superintendent, Petlaburj Maternity Hospital, in a news article stated, “We are seeing a huge jump in admissions of pregnant women in districts. In fact, there are instances wherein private maternity clinics in districts were shut down simply because of the rise in demand for government hospitals.”
“We are trying our best to provide quality service,” Dr Mani added. Authorities said that the long- term impact of KCR Kits scheme will be quite significant in reducing the Infant and Maternal Mortality Rates (IMR and MMR).
Since its launch, the scheme has seen a total expenditure of close to Rs 350 crore and the amount spent to procure the mother and baby kits, that are the integral part, was close to Rs. 50 crore.
Another flagship healthcare programme launched by the Telangana State Government that stood out is Kanti Velgu – which is about free eye screening for all citizens.
Under ‘Kanti Velugu’, the entire population of 3.7 crore are provided free eye care. The authorities are not only conducting eye screening but also providing free medicines, spectacles and arranging for free surgeries, if required.
The government expects that four lakh surgeries will be performed across the state. Under what is claimed to be the first such programme taken up anywhere in the world, the government plans to distribute 40 lakh spectacles.
ENT SCREENING ON THE LINES OF KANTI VELUGU
The Government is also geared up to roll out free ENT screenings on the line of Kanti Velugu, “The government will constitute ENT and dental teams across the State to screen people for problems related to ear, nose, throat and dental on the lines of Kanti Velugu eye screening camps. Both the schemes will be implemented one after another soon. We will prepare health profile of every Citizens of the State including his/her blood group,” said the Telangana Chief Minister.
PREVENTIVE MEASURES OR EARLY DETECTION
All the citizens of Telangana will be given unique Identification cards where they can also have their routine annual check-ups.
The routine health check-up includes screening for cardiac, kidney and neuro issues. It is being planned in all districts of the State. This scheme is aimed at prevention or early detection of such chronic diseases or health complications for the underprivileged.
While the citizens of rural areas and urban slums would benefit from the schemes, any citizens can avail the benefit of the scheme. While the data obtained from the massive holistic health screening will be used to come up with more effective healthcare model in the State.
AROGYASRI HEALTH INSURANCE — THE WAY AHEAD
While the widely celebrated Central Government Universal Health Insurance Scheme – Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY), was being adapted by majority of the state government, The Telangana Government chose not to adapt it Citing the reason for not adopting the Ayshman Bharat Scheme in the state, K. Chandrashekar Rao, Telangana Chief Minister, said, “ Our State Arogyasri Health Insurance is much superior than Ayushman Bharat.”
With continuous improvements and ease of execution along with supplementary health schemes puts Aarogyasri way ahead
Today’s Aarogyasri in Telangana is highly evolved and developed than the earlier scheme during the united AP. New MoUs with better terms were signed with individual corporate hospitals in Hyderabad.
The insurance scheme that initially covered only 7-8 lakh families now covers 80 lakh. Alongside, the state-run health institutions too started recording a jump in outpatient and inpatient inflows, unlike earlier.
Presently, Aarogyasri Healthcare Trust is implementing three schemes. The first scheme is Aarogyasri Special Treatment Scheme which aims to offer special treatment to the below poverty level families.
Under this scheme, both private and public hospitals are empanelled under Aarogyasri Healthcare Trust. This scheme can be availed by poor patients having white ration card supplied by the Civil Supplies Department as a proof. Whenever a patient, carrying a white ration card, visits a hospital, private or government, the Aarogyamithras as a functionary will register that patient’s details.
Post-examination in the hospital, the patient will be provided inpatient or outpatient treatment according to their needs.
The hospital will raise pre- authorisation on the patients note and will be sent to the trust. Once the pre-authorisation is approved, the hospital will perform the treatment on the patients.
Post-treatment, they will raise a claim through an online model. After submitting the claim details, the trust will conduct the investigation and approval procedure. Once approved, the payment will be transferred online. Approximately 2 crore people are the beneficiary under this programme.
The Telangana government also introduced exclusive schemes like Employee Health Insurance Scheme for State government employees, Journalists Health Scheme, health cover for employees of Singareni and support for Central government employees through CGHS, ESI and CM Relief Fund.
HEALTHCARE AT CITIZENS’ DOORSTEP — BASTI DAWAKHANA
Bringing the healthcare facilities at the doorstep, Telangana government has set up Basti Dawakhana (Neighborhood Clinic) in the city.
The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation has set up diagnostic centres in 28 Basti Dawakhanas. The corporation has established 17 Basthi Dawakhanas of which three have diagnostic centres.
The diagnostic centres will conduct 108 tests including 53 in association with the Institute of Preventive Medicine (IPM).
As part of the initiative, a central hub has been set up at the IPM and eight mini hubs have been set up in different parts of the city with equipment to take X-rays, ECG, ultrasound and CT scans.
The State government, already launched 40 dialysis centres across the State, and had come up with the Telangana Diagnostics Central Hub to provide better medical facilities to the needy.
A total of 500 Basti Dawakhana will be established as per the plan of the state government.
INCREASED TRUST ON THE GOVERNMENT HEALTHCARE SYSTEM
While launching the above facilities in the Hyderabad, the then Telangana Municipal Administration and Urban Development Minister KT Rama Rao observed, “There is an increased trust on the government system and Government hospitals due to various pro-active initiatives taken up by the state government.”
“Normal deliveries have increased against cesarean deliveries. Even the high-end and complicated surgeries including Kidney, Liver transplantations that used to take place majorly in the private or corporate hospitals are being done Government Hospitals,” he added.
GIRLS’ HEALTH AND HYGIENE
In a first of its kind in the country, the Telangana government launched a programme for health and hygiene of girls. It started distributing Balika Aarogya Raksha (Health and Hygiene) kits to about 6 lakh girl students studying in government- run educational institutions across Telangana.
The kit will contain 13 products including Patanjali bathing soap, detergent soap, toothbrush, Dabur coconut hair oil, shampoo, toothpaste, Eyetex facial powder, sanitary napkins, tongue cleaner, comb, sticker ‘bindi’s, nylon ribbons and hairbands.
The kits will be distributed to girls aged between 12 and 18 studying in government, general residential educational institutions, Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas, Model Schools and aided schools. Besides, handwash will be provided to both girls and boys studying in government educational institutions.
Conclusively saying, the manner in which the KCR Government appears to be also using all possible dimensions to reach out and build an affordable and accessible healthcare model, it only showcases the State Government’s commitment to cater its over 3.64 crore citizens for years to come.