| BJP MLAs protest at the Assembly on Friday. Picture by Deepak Kumar |
Patna, July 4: The state government today promised to introduce dialysis centres at all medical colleges and district hospitals from August 15.
Water resources minister Vijay Kumar Choudhary made the announcement today while replying to a debate on the health department’s budgetary demand for 2014-15, to the tune of over Rs 4,805 crore. Choudhary was replying to the health department’s debate because health minister Ramdhani Singh is ill. Dialysis is only conducted at PMCH among government hospitals, where it costs less than at private hospitals. Patients flock to Patna for this. The budget was passed amid a walkout by the BJP, which claimed the JDU government was resting on the achievements of the NDA’s over seven-year run during which three BJP leaders led the health department.
Choudhary also defended the government’s action in curbing suspected encephalitis deaths. “The national mortality rate for children suffering from this disease is 30 per cent. This time in Bihar, it was 17.2 per cent. Even Union health minister Harsh Vardhan approved of the treatment protocol.” The minister said the state government had banned the use of Lignocam, which was supplied to Bhagalpur Medical College and found to be substandard. A patient reportedly died after being administered the anaesthesia. “We have cancelled the contract of the pharma firm that supplied the medicine and withdrawn it from hospitals,” the minister said. He announced a two-member committee led by director-in-chief of health services to probe the matter.
Leader of the Opposition Nand Kishore Yadav questioned the minister’s claims. He said: “The reports distributed by the health department have nothing more to show than achievements by the NDA government in which the health department was headed by BJP ministers. You should check the related files to see who had signed them as a minister.” Nand Kishore was health minister at one point of time.
Earlier, BJP MLA Chandra Mohan Rai, who was the first health minister in the NDA government, alleged the JDU government “derailed” the health sector which he and other BJP ministers had put on track. “A board at hospitals lists 20 free medicines but not one is available. Medicines are purchased from blacklisted companies. The Medical Council of India is derecognising medical colleges here because the state government has failed to fulfil its conditions. PMCH has become a den of touts who guide patients to private nursing homes,” he said.
During question hour, the JDU and BJP blamed each other for Thursday’s incident when both sides almost came to blows. Parliamentary affairs minister Srawan Kumar alleged BJP MLAs were raising derogatory slogans against Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad. The BJP alleged the finance minister had threatened them and they would not tolerate it. Speaker Uday Narayan Chaudhary was stunned and promised to hold a meeting of all leaders in his chamber in this regard. He said unparliamentary words would be expunged from the proceedings.