Ramdhani takes swine flu swipe at Gujarat - Western state worst affected by disease, health minister feels situation far better even in districts

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By Our special correspondent
  • Published 25.03.15

Ramdhani Singh

Patna, March 24: The Nitish Kumar government today debunked Narendra Modi for very high deaths due to swine flu in Gujarat - the state he ruled before becoming the Prime Minister - against minimal such casualties in Bihar, now equipped with "better healthcare facilities".

"Gujarat, which had Modi as its chief minister, has 410 casualties on account of swine flu - highest among the states while Bihar has accounted for only two deaths of 87 patients tested positive with the disease," health minister Ramdhani Singh said in the Assembly. "Modi's Gujarat has seen highest number of casualty at 410 due to the outbreak of swine flu.... it speaks volumes about the failure of the Gujarat Model of development," he said.

Replying to the debate on the health department's budgetary allocation of Rs 4,971.67 crore for 2015-16 during the post-lunch session of the House, the minister said: "Bihar has got the facility to carry out the swine flu test on the suspected patients at the Rajendra Memorial Research Institute of Medical Sciences (RMRIMS). The doctors have responded to the menace very effectively, detecting the disease early and treating them," the minister said.

He also lauded the doctors for attending to patients suffering from swine flu. The House later passed the health department's budget by a voice vote amid a walk out by the BJP members.

The BJP, led by its legislature party leader Nand Kishore Yadav, staged the walkout from the House describing the minister's claim as "false" even as the minister reeled off the figures telling: "Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra (all BJP-ruled states) accounted for 400, 281 and 347 deaths due to swine flu, respectively."

The minister also announced that the government had already communicated the vacancies for as many as 6,072 doctors "to be appointed across the state hospitals" to the Bihar Public Service Commission (BPSC).

Ramdhani claimed that the state had witnessed a vast improvement in its medical facilities over the years with as many as 19 of the 38 district hospitals getting intensive care units (ICUs) and most of the district hospitals getting CT scan facilities under the private-public partnership (PPP) mode.

The minister added that the government was "sensitive" to the fact that the poor people in the countryside mainly used the government hospitals against the rich and well-to-do families, which prefer private medical facilities. "Keeping an eye on the poor people, the government has kept the medical facilities particularly in the districts and sub-divisional towns as top priority," he said.

Swine flu claimed the lives of 21 more people taking the toll to 1,947 and the number of people affected by the H1N1 virus across the country inched towards the 33,000-mark.

According to the Union health ministry data collated as on March 23, the disease has killed 1,947 people while 32,663 have been affected by it across various states.