Rajasthan budget: Health announcements inadequate, say NGOs
The announcements made in the health sector are grossly insufficient, said Dr Narendra Gupta, Rajasthan convener of Jan Swasthya Abhiyan (JSA). Reacting to the announcements made by the chief minister in the state budget on Monday, he said simply upgrading primary health centres to community health centres is of no use, as facilities also need to be upgraded.
The CM announced a new medical college at Dholpur and recruitment of 4,514 nurse grade-II and 5,558 woman health workers. New Cath Labs at hospital of Government Medical College in Jaipur, Bikaner and Ajmer will also be set up.
Raje also proposed Rs 7.29 crore for installing firefighting and fire detection system in 27 district hospitals and announced the development of 581 primary health centres (PHCs) as Adarsh primary health centres and wellness centre in rural areas. She also announced 28 new primary health centers and upgradation of 16 PHCs to Community Health Centres.
Swine flu and VDRL lab in Jaipuria hospital, including new catheterization labs in SMS hospital Jaipur, medical college (Bikaner) and medical college (Ajmer) also made it to the list of the proposed projects.
“Announcing a new college in Dholpur does not make any sense. It just appears to be an announcement to lure people in an election year,” said Dr Gupta, adding that two years ago the government had announced seven medical colleges in the state, but they are yet to start.
“The reason is that in the last two years, the government has not been able to develop infrastructure and as a result, the Medical Council of India has not given approval to new colleges. In such a situation, announcing a new medical college in Dholpur is of no use,” he said.
Similarly, Dr Gupta said that the government has to strengthen the primary health centre, the first point of healthcare, instead the government is concentrating on district hospitals and those hospitals attached to medical colleges. This leads to overcrowding at these hospitals.
Chhaya Pachauli, senior programme coordinator of Prayas, an NGO working in the field of health, said “The budget in the health sector is disappointing.”
Welcoming the budget proposals, former president of the Indian Medical Association SS Agarwal said that the announcements will strengthen basic health facilities but what is important is the implementation in a phased and timely manner.