CHENNAI: In a bid to raise the standard of healthcare provisions in Tamil Nadu, C.Vijayabhasker made 108 announcements in the Assembly on Tuesday. The 108 announcements included a number initiatives ranging from the proposal to establish a Centre of Excellence at the institute of mental health, Chennai, strengthening ambulance services with an additional 121 new ambulances in the state to setting-up of an inter-facility centre (IFT) system across the state with 120 Audit Retrieval Vehicles. ‘Amma Natural Wellness Kit’ -an initiative to prevent anaemia in adolescent girls, ‘Home Again’ -a scheme to ensure a nurturing and comfortable environment for cured patients with mental illness and a ‘hotline’ dedicated to ensuring the safety of the medical professionals were a few noteworthy points in the lengthy108 proclamation list. The implementation of these schemes and programmes would cost the state a budget of 12,563.83 crores for 2019-2020.
Speaking to Deccan Chronicle about the significance of the announcements, Dr Ravindranath, Doctors Society for Social Equality says, “Despite the countless promises made by the government to improve the healthcare facilities in the state, very little is actually done to implement the proposals. Tamil Nadu's rank dip from the 3rd position to the 9th in Niti Aayog report is a reflection of the dismal performance of the state in the health sector.”
He points out that in spite of the Centre’s nod to set up a Pharmaceulogical institute at Thanjavur, the state government has not taken any initiative on its behalf to commence the project. “Private medical colleges do not allot the promised number of seats to the government. The government continues to stay indifferent towards this issue and no action has been taken,” he adds.
Touching upon the ongoing protest by the government doctors demanding the government for implementation of DACP Dr Ravindranath alleges, “the government has failed its doctors by not paying its medical professionals enough. Most of the money allotted for health goes to cover health insurances. A certain amount is also looted in the purchase of medical equipment. The health industry in the state has come under the hands of private corporate giants”.
Says Dr Perumal Pillai, state office-bearer, STGPA, “TN is a densely populated state, where the public avails numerous government healthcare schemes. The per head capita allotted for the state is comparatively less.”
Tamil Nadu has also been utilizing the funds under National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) rather swiftly. In addition to this, it also received a fund of Rs 1,999 crore from the World Bank to accelerate the progress of health facilities provided in the state.
“The state doctors have also contributed `2,224 crore to the Chief minister comprehensive health insurance scheme, the highest contribution by any other state doctors. Regardless of our contribution to the government treasury and sustaining money flow, the pertaining issue of doctors' salary has been ignored. We have planned to conduct a strike on Thursday throughout the state. The outpatient services will be suspended in all government hospitals across the state for two hours”, he remarks.
Meanwhile, doctors have welcomed the proposed ‘corpus fund’ scheme by which family of doctors, nurses and workers in the health department will receive remuneration in the case of the sudden demise of the medical professional. They also contemplate that the success of the programmes will depend on their timely implementation and effective execution....