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.
अब गांवों में भी खोले जाएंगे अस्पताल pic.twitter.com/XdUPWO1n7T
— INC Chhattisgarh (@INCChhattisgarh) June 26, 2021
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.
छत्तीसगढ़ के मुख्यमंत्री ने ग्रामीण इलाक़ों में प्राइवेट अस्पतालों को अनुदान देने का फ़ैसला किया है.
राज्य के स्वस्थ्य मंत्री ने इसका विरोध किया है.
स्वास्थ्य विभाग के कई फ़ैसले और बैठक सीएम करते रहे हैं और मंत्री को खबर तक नहीं होती.
लेकिन लगता है 2.5 साल में मौसम बदल रहा है. pic.twitter.com/1kOhMClf5c
— Alok Putul (@thealokputul) June 29, 2021
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.