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Updated: March 30, 2010 21:07 IST

‘Health care getting urbanised'

Special Correspondent
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HI-TECH FACILITY: Union Minister of State for HRD Daggubati Purandeswari at the Time Hospitals in Vijayawada on Monday. Photo: Raju V.
THE HINDU HI-TECH FACILITY: Union Minister of State for HRD Daggubati Purandeswari at the Time Hospitals in Vijayawada on Monday. Photo: Raju V.

Corporate and private hospitals should find ‘balance' between making profits and doing service, Union Minister of State for Human Resources Development Daggubati Purandeswari said on Monday.

Inaugurating ‘Time Hospitals', a new multi-speciality hospital at Ashok Nagar bus stop on M.G. Road, she said there was a need for private hospitals to go for “cross subsidy” to be able to give quality health care to those who could not afford it.

Responding to the anguish of other speakers about the “ineffectiveness” of Arogyasri programme, the Union Minister said that health care services were becoming highly ‘urbanised', but over 60 per cent of the country's population still lived in villages. As per international medicare norms, 75,000 community health care units were needed. Unfortunately, there was a severe shortage of medical personnel.

She recalled how representatives of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) had approached her to register their protest against the “creation” of a cadre by providing training to the rural medical practitioners (RMPs). “But when I asked them how many of their members are ready to work in rural areas, not a single voice was heard,” she said, defending the continuation of Arogyasri.

“If they are any lapses in the execution of the scheme, they should be rectified. But it will not be wise to do away with the scheme altogether,” she asserted. The limited resources available at the disposal of the Government were not sufficient to meet the new health care challenges coming up constantly. It was a well-established fact that the two primary reasons for suicides in rural areas were failure of agriculture and the inability to meet the cost of medical treatment, she pointed out.

Andhra Jyothi managing director Vemuri Radhakrishna raised the issue of government “leaving education and health care entirely to the corporate sector to the detriment of future generations.”

Income Tax Commissioner K. Ajay Kumar asked if it would not be possible to develop super-speciality hospitals needed for providing high quality healthcare to the poor in the public sector with the money being spent on Arogyasri.

IMA national president G. Samaram, presiding over the function, said Vijayawada was emerging as “Vaidyawada”, a healthcare hub with several private and corporate hospitals setting up branches here. Telugu film star Srihari said he was much obliged to the hospital chairman Puvvada Rama Krishna for saving the life of his brother, who was injured in an accident.

Dr. Rama Krishna said that the hospital was planned to cater to the healthcare needs of people of not just the city, but those living in places within a radius of 60 km from the city. The state-of-the-art ambulance of the hospital had ventilator facility needed to move patients in critical condition.

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