Rs 5 per year per person on health - Not enough, admits govt

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By Staff Reporter in Guwahati
  • Published 26.02.07
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Guwahati, Feb. 26: If you are dependent on the government healthcare system, try not to fall sick. For Dispur has allocated only about Rs 5 per annum for your medical needs.

The state has allocated Rs 15 crore for about 3 crore people this fiscal, an official report has said. The health and family welfare department will utilise the money to procure medicines and other allied items like syringe, saline and bandages for government-run hospitals and health centres.

Health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma admitted that the allocation for medicines and allied substances is not enough to meet the needs. He cited the example of Tamil Nadu that has a yearly allocation of around Rs 300 crore under this head while neighbouring West Bengal spent around Rs 250 crore in the last fiscal to purchase medicines for government-run hospitals and health centres.

The pathetic scenario could be gauged from the fact that the government has procured only 5,000 bottles of saline this fiscal year. The minimum requirement of saline per annum in a medical college is 1,000 bottles. The state has three medical colleges, 20 district hospitals, 100 30-bed hospitals, 100 10-bed hospitals, 600 one-doctor hospitals and 5,100 health sub-centres manned by one nurse each.

Sarma admitted that all these hospitals and centres did not get the requisite quantity of medicines and allied items. “I know this is a problem. But I cannot do anything unless the budgetary allocation for the procurement of medicines is increased,” he said.

The state government’s failure to make available adequate medicines to the government hospitals has resulted in the mushrooming of private pharmacies in and around the government-run hospitals.

The revelation has punched holes in Dispur’s oft-repeated claims of representing the hopes and aspirations of the common man. Sources in Dispur said a lot needs to be done to improve the healthcare system with three new medical colleges coming up in the state.

The Opposition was quick to react on the report. BJP legislator Rameswar Teli pounced on the revelation by dubbing the government’s slogan of health for all as hogwash. “There is more to the mess than meets the eye,” he said.

An AGP legislator, too, expressed surprise. “Why only health? Even teachers are not getting their pay. College teachers have not received their salary for the month of January,” he said.