A decision by the Chhattisgarh government to open nine government health centres to be run under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model has drawn criticism from the Opposition and the civil society, who have accused the state government of abdicating responsibility.
The government announced the move after a meeting chaired by Chief Secretary Ajay Singh earlier in the week. Of these nine community health centres, four are in Raipur district, one in the neighbouring Dhamtari district, two in Durg district and one each in Koriya and Balodabazaar districts. Senior government officials have argued that the plan, which will be implemented on a pilot basis, has been undertaken because of a lack of hospital staff, including doctors and nurses, and is aimed at raising the standards of healthcare.
Opposition Congress, Chhattisgarh Janata Congress and AAP have condemned the move. Senior Congress leaders said the move was aimed at “benefiting” private companies and added that if the government cannot provide healthcare in the state despite its health budget, it must resign.
Activists have pointed out that while the government has cited lack of staff in “far flung areas”, eight of the nine places earmarked for the health centres are in urban areas. They have also raised concerns about a rise in costs of healthcare once these PPP models are implemented, pointing out that facilities like smartcards for the poor to get free treatment are often circumvented.