Chhattisgarh govt to Privatise Rural Healthcare

In 2019 Chattisgarh elections, Congress in its manifesto had promised universal healthcare to the citizenry.

Image Source: Corporate Europe Observatory

Chhattisgarh government has received severe criticism over its announcement to provide grants for the construction of private hospitals in the rural areas of the state.

The deadly second wave of pandemic not only brought the incompetency of the BJP ruled central government but also the rural-urban divide in terms of access to healthcare to the forefront.

With the closure of primary health care centers (PMCs), shortage of hospitals, basic medical equipment, medicines, and healthcare staff, the rural population of the country continues to struggle. When private hospitals driven by their profit motive were charging exorbitant amounts and turning away those who couldn’t afford to pay, even with an acute shortage of medical supplies and staff, public health institutions provided relief to the rural and poor masses albeit in limited terms. The situation has highlighted the requirement of government initiatives and focus plans to strengthen public healthcare in the country.

Congress Chhattisgarh unit Twitter account, on June 26 tweeted a brochure thanking Baghel govt. announcement of making private hospitals in the state.

According to the brochure the state government will provide monetary grants to support the opening up of private hospitals in rural Chhattisgarh. The Chief Minister of the state, Bhupesh Baghel has asked the industries department to prepare an action plan for the proposal within 10 days in order to receive grants, the brochure mentions.

 

A few days later, TS Singh Deo, the Chhattisgarh Health Minister, however, presented a critique of the government’s announcement to fund the private sector citing the INC’s 2019 election manifesto that promised universal healthcare to the citizenry.

Addressing a press conference, Deo questioned the government’s proposal to extend public funding to private sector healthcare when the state government is facing a fund crunch.

The government brochure also says that specialised care will be provided in rural areas via private hospitals, a claim that Deo has questioned, ‘which doctor will go and practice in any rural area? Which specialised doctor will agree to go work in Sukma free of cost?’

As pressure to roll back the proposal from activists, experts, and civil society groups continues to build up, the government has not made any further announcements regarding the issue.

Also Read: #Healthforall campaign for Healthcare as a fundamental right

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