Union Health Minister JP Nadda urged the Odisha government to implement the Center’s Ayushman Bharat scheme along with its own Biju Swastha Kalyan program for better health protection for the people. The state government had earlier rejected the Center’s Ayushman Bharat scheme claiming that its own program was much better. Nadda made his suggestion at the inauguration of a Medical College at Balangir. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and state Health Minister Pratap Jena were also present. “I urge the chief minister to adopt the Ayushman Bharat scheme of the central government along with the state’s own program. Both the Center and the state should work together for protection of people’s health,” he said. The Center has always supported the state government in strengthening its health system, the Union minister said.
If Odisha does not implement the Ayushman Bharat scheme, many who need the benefits most may be deprived of them, he said, adding people covered under the central scheme would be able to get free health service even outside side their states. He urged the Odisha government to implement the Deendayal AMRIT Scheme in all medical colleges in the state to enable patients get branded medicines at affordable prices, Nadda said. The union minister said the health ministry is taking a leap towards providing accessible and affordable healthcare to the common man through the Ayushman Bharat, Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana which will provide assured universal healthcare to over 50 crore people from the vulnerable sections. “The Ayushman Bharat scheme for a comprehensive primary care by health and wellness centers, and the National Health Protection Mission for financial protection to the poor for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization are the twin pillars envisioned to take our country on the path of universal health coverage,” Nadda said.
The Union health minister said new medical colleges are being established in Odisha in the district headquarter hospitals at Balasore, Baripada, Balangir, Koraput and Puri. Medical colleges under Bhadrak, Jajpur and Dhenkanal have also been announced. He said at present there are 502 medical colleges in the country, out of them 118 new medical colleges – 54 government and 64 private – have been opened since 2014-15. Against 52,000 MBBS seats in 2013-14, there are now more than 70,000 under graduate seats for medical studies. Patnaik said opening of the long-awaited medical college and hospital here has fulfilled the dream of the people of western Odisha and will go a long way in providing quality healthcare service in the area. Iterating his government’s commitment to provide improved health service to the people, he said the state government is making a constant effort to improve healthcare and medical education in remote and tribal-dominated areas.
Noting that there were 321 MBBS seats in the state in 2000 (when Patnaik became the chief minister), he said the number of seats has increased to 950 after the opening of the medical colleges and hospitals in Koraput, Mayurbhanj and Balangir. After the inauguration of the medical college and hospital in Balasore next month, Odisha will have a total 1050 MBBS seats, Patnaik said. Admission in 100 seats in Balangir medical college, named after legendary poet Santha Kabi Bhima Bhoi, began from the current academic session. The medical college and hospital has been constructed at a cost of ₹300 crore, of which ₹205 crore was given by the state government and the rest provided by the Center, officials said. – Business Standard