Doctors were forced to remove an eye each of two women to prevent the spread of infection following botched cataract surgeries at a private Indore hospital on August 5, a medical officer said on Monday.(Unsplash)
Doctors were forced to remove an eye each of two women to prevent the spread of infection following botched cataract surgeries at a private Indore hospital on August 5, a medical officer said on Monday.(Unsplash)

MP govt hands over health centres to pvt medical college in Indore, sparks row

  • The Madhya Pradesh government said that if the pilot project in Indore works, then it would hand over more primary and community health centres to private partners under PPP mode.
PUBLISHED ON FEB 23, 2021 05:45 PM IST

The Madhya Pradesh government plans to hand over some of its primary and community health centres to private partners to improve public health infrastructure, medical education minister Vishwas Sarang said Tuesday.

The government has already launched a pilot project in Indore.

“On a pilot basis, the Madhya Pradesh health department has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Sri Aurobindo Institute of Medical Science (SAIMS), Indore to hand over a community health centre (CHC) in Sanwer, Indore to the latter. If it works, then we will hand over more centres to private partners under PPP mode,” Sarang said.

“The state government wants to give the best health facilities to common people at minimum cost. If private partners are ready to run PHC and CHC at no profit and no loss, it is good for the common people,” he added.

An officer of MP health department, who is not authorized to talk to the media, said, “The authorities of SAIMS showed interest in taking over CHC. The health department granted permission under the pilot project. If it works, some other PHC and CHC will run on PPP Mode. The private partners will develop infrastructure and improve the facilities. The private partners will not charge any money from the patients but they will earn money through Ayushman Bharat Scheme.”

According to the order, “The medical college will improve infrastructure by introducing machines for dialysis, phototherapy, sonography, neonatal care and others. The private medical college is also developing an ICU with 10 beds. In case of referral, an ambulance service will also be provided to patients. Apart from government health department staff, medical college’s specialists and junior doctors will also give their services at the CHC."

Vinod Bhandari, director of SAIMS said they would change the face of the community health centres under the pilot project.

“We want to help the state government in improving infrastructure and we got permission only a week ago. We have started developing infrastructure at CHC. We will change the face of CHC and people of more than 150 villages will benefit from it. The health department has asked us not to charge anything from the patients. We will provide treatment to the patients under Ayushman Bharat scheme.”

“We will also provide training to government staff and MBBS qualified doctors at CHC. In future, we will develop more CHC under PPP mode,” said Bhandari.

But the government’s plan has come under fire from health activists who accused it of privatizing healthcare and questioned its intentions.

“This project is nothing but backdoor privatization of public health facilities in MP. Earlier, the health department tried to run government health facilities in Dewas and Alirajpur through PPP Mode but it failed. The services which should be free for people now the private partners will charge money from the government for the treatment under Ayushman Bharat scheme,” aid Jan Swasthya Abhiyan convener Amulya Nidhi.

Another activist Upsana Behar said, “This pilot project has so many flaws. The CHC has been handed over to SAIMS without any tender. It was more like the private medical college sought permission from the government to run a CHC and without any transparency, the government granted permission. In case of referral, all the patients from CHC will be referred to SAIMs and that only means the staff at CHC will work as agents of SAIMS.”

"All these things raise questions on the intention of the state government. If the state government doesn't have any malafide intention, then they should adopt a clear and transparent process," she added.

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