As the Madhya Pradesh government gears up to enumerate its priorities in health sector during World Health Day functions today (Tuesday), its budget allocation for the sector present a dismal picture.
There has been a cut of nearly Rs 24 crore in the budget allocation for the health sector this year, which will afflict the health sector, according to experts.
This year, a provision of Rs 4,740 crore has been made in the budget for public health services under public health and family welfare department, whereas in the last year’s budget, an allocation of Rs 4,764 crore was made in the health sector.
The state provides healthcare facilities to people through a network of 51 district hospitals, 66 civil hospitals, 334 community health centres, 1,171 primary health centres, 9,192 sub-health centres, 53 special newborn care units, 228 newborn stabilisation units, 1,296 newborn care corners, 316 nutrition rehabilitation centres, 1,412 delivery units and 48,959 gram aarogya kendras.
According to experts, country’s second largest state needs funds for addressing the infrastructural and healthcare related issues. Sachin Jain from NGO Vikas Samvad, which has been analysing the budget for last many years, said that at a time when the state government was talking about making healthcare available to all, decreasing the budgetary allocation in the health sector was a contradictory stand on part of the MP government.
"If we base the exiting manpower and infrastructure in the health sector according to the Indian Public Health Standards, there is a deficit of nearly 50 percent in human resources and 30 percent deficit in health institutions. Also, the state requires good resources to improve its status with regard to infant mortality, maternal mortality, for which MP has always been receiving flak," he said.
Another health expert Dr DK Verma said that with such a budget allocation, it was unlikely the government could achieve “health for all’ anytime soon.
"There is a shortage of specialist doctors, health equipment, technicians, health infrastructure in the rural areas of the state. Without good budgetary allocation, how can the authorities ensure proper healthcare delivery for all in the state," he said.
Director, public health and family welfare, Dr Navneet Mohan Kothari said: "Budget allocation is tentative and changes are made in the fund allocations later on as per the requirements."
On the state government's proposal to Central government to seek Rs 2,500 crore for expansion of health services in the state, Dr Kothari said that it was the right of every state to seek funds from the Centre for implementation of various health schemes.
This year's theme is 'food safety'
According to World Health Organisation, World Health Day is celebrated on April 7 to mark the anniversary of its founding in 1948. Each year a theme is selected. This year’s theme is food safety, with the slogan 'From farm to plate, make food safe'.