Health sector evolution: Examining Telangana’s healthcare journey since 2014

June 01, 2023 10:55 am | Updated June 02, 2023 08:37 am IST - HYDERABAD

Although the health bulletin says that out of the 500 ICU beds with ventilator in Gandhi Hospital, 338 were occupied and 162 are vacant, the real picture is more dire.

Although the health bulletin says that out of the 500 ICU beds with ventilator in Gandhi Hospital, 338 were occupied and 162 are vacant, the real picture is more dire. | Photo Credit: NAGARA GOPAL

The Telangana government has been quite successful in transforming the health sector of the State since its formation in 2014.

Initially under C. Laxma Reddy as the Health Minister after the formation of the new state, Eatala Rajender was in charge from 2019 to 2021, when Telangana was in the grip of the COVID pandemic. T. Harish Rao was handed over the Health portfolio in November 2021.

The health indicators in the State have been reasonably positive. Telangana has been successful in bringing down the Maternal Mortality Rate, as also the Infant Mortality Rate and Under 5 Mortality Rate.

Telangana’s rank

In 2017, NITI Aayog in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the World Bank initiated an annual health index for tracking overall and incremental performance across all states and union territories. In health index 4, among the larger states, Telangana was ranked the third best performer. The first two positions were bagged by Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

The State has also moved from a 3-tier healthcare system to a 5- tier system. The five levels are:

Quaternary Healthcare: Two super-speciality hospitals with 1,939 beds

Tertiary Healthcare: 31 teaching and super-speciality hospitals with 13,975 beds

Secondary Healthcare: 164 district hospitals, area hospitals and community health centres with 10,470 beds

Primary Healthcare: 868 Primary Health Centres with 3,908 beds

Preventive and Promotive Healthcare: 334 Basti Dawakhanas and 4,745 sub-centres

The government has also issued orders for establishment of four super-specialty hospitals with 1,000 beds each, namely Telangana Institute of Medical Sciences (TIMS) in various parts of Hyderabad. Besides, the government has sanctioned a health city and 2,000 bed super-speciality hospital in Warangal district.

KCR Kit scheme

The KCR Kit scheme was launched on June 2, 2017, which includes a payment of ₹12,000 (₹13,000 in case of a female child) to pregnant women and a kit with utility items at the time of the delivery. So far, 13.91 lakh women have benefited from the scheme. This apart, KCR Nutrition Kits were distributed to ensure that pregnant women do not suffer from malnutrition.

Telangana Diagnostics was launched in 2018. Initially set up in Hyderabad, currently there are hubs in over 22 districts. More than 25 lakh patients have availed the services and more than 1 crore tests have been done till date. The National Health Mission judged T-Diagnostics as one of the best initiatives in “Good and Replicable Practices and innovations in Public Healthcare Systems” conference. Currently, there are 57 types of tests available, and the government will soon be increasing them to 134.

Basti Dawakhanas in slums meet the healthcare needs of the urban population with focus on urban poor. A total of 496 Basti Dawakhana have been established across the State. Each centre has a medical officer, a nurse and a multipurpose assistant. About 2.10 crore people have benefitted since 2018.

COVID scenario

In COVID management, Telangana was the first State to conduct a fever survey during the pandemic, later emulated by many others. As of May 29, 2023, Telangana recorded a total cumulative 8,44,231 COVID cases and 4,111 deaths. The overall recovered cases were 8,40,054 and the total samples tested were 3.98 crore. As per the bulletin on March 31, a total of 7.75 crore people in the State were administered with all the three vaccine doses. About 1.71 crore people are due to take all the three doses.

While the government did fairly well in the health sector since 2014, there were some misses as well.

Despite the government’s efforts in improving maternal healthcare, Caesarean section rate in Telangana remained the highest in the country with 54.09% C-section deliveries in 2021-22.

Four women died while undergoing a Double Puncture Laparoscopy (a family planning method) surgery at Ibrahimpatnam in August 2022.

The construction of a new building for Osmania General Hospital still remains a dream.

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