March 8, 2021 10:34:31 pm
The Covid-19 pandemic has drawn the Maharashtra’s government focus toward improving hospital infrastructure and infectious care treatment, with the state government announcing a post-Covid care centre in every district and the setting up of a model infectious disease hospital in Aundh district hospital in Budget 2021-22 on Monday.
With thousands suffering from ‘long Covid’, a terminology for recovered patients suffering from mental trauma and continued physical weakness, the state government plans to establish a post-Covid counselling and treatment centre in every district hospital and medical college. Currently several government hospitals treat such recovered cases in their normal OPD.
The overall budget for health has risen by 10.25 per cent from the previous year’s budget estimates. Budget estimates for 2020-21 were Rs 17,288 crore. This time, it is Rs 19,061 crore, an increase of Rs 1,773 crore, for health and medical education. The state government has allocated Rs 2,961 crore for public health schemes and Rs 1,517 crore for schemes under medical education department.
At least 11 government nursing schools attached to medical colleges will be converted into nursing colleges to prepare nurses in management of infectious diseases. Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said there was a need for radical changes in the curriculum related to paramedical patient care and to give priority and encouragement to branches related to nursing. The state government announced Rs 7,500 crore for construction and upgradation of health infrastructure like primary health centres, psychiatric hospitals, trauma care centres in the next four years.
New government medical colleges have been announced for Sindhudurg, Osmanabad, Nashik, Raigad, Satara, Amravati and Parbhani. At least 3,190 medical seats will be increased across medical colleges, this will include 1,990 undergraduate seats, 1,000 post-graduate seats and 200 for super-specialty.
To further expand the urban health mission, Rs 800 crore has been budgeted this year to improve health care in municipal corporations and nagar parishads. Total of Rs 5,000 crore has been allocated for urban healthcare for the next five years. A separate post for Director, Urban Health, has been created to tackle dispensaries and health posts in cities and towns under National Health Mission.
State officials said the infectious disease centre in Aundh district hospital would be a dedicated facility to tackle infectious diseases like Covid-19, H1N1. This facility will be followed by smaller centres under its umbrella at district levels to provide a ready infrastructure whenever a disease outbreak happens.
The state government is further expanding its program for non-communicable diseases with 150 hospitals across the state to diagnose cancer, and eight CATH labs for emergency angiography procedures for heart patients.
Following the Bhandara fire incident in January, which killed 10 babies, the state government has decided to instal fire safety system in all government hospitals. State officials said they have received proposals worth Rs 800-900 crore for fire safety equipment by various districts.
Following the budget speech, health experts flagged the state government’s intention to involve public private partnership in medical colleges. The government has announced new medical colleges will be constructed or maintained on PPP model.
“Government must invest more in public infrastructure instead of relying on private players. If we compare revised budget estimates for 2020-21 and this year’s budget estimate and factor funds required for Covid, the budget for health is slightly less,” said Ravi Duggal, attached with Jan Swasthya Abhiyan. This year’s budget estimate is Rs 477 crore less than revised estimates for 2020-21.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.