To provide quality healthcare at the primary level, the National Health Mission (NHM) has decided to partner with not-for-profit organizations and medical colleges to manage and operate 19 primary health centers (PHCs) located in remote areas of the state. The NHM has invited request for proposals from private firms to take possession of the health centers. “The NHM is considering handing over the PHCs to private organizations to improve the quality of primary healthcare in terms of clinical care and outreach services,” the invitation document reads. The health centers that will be managed by private entities are located in Gajapati, Nabarangpur, Kalahandi, Kandhamal, Rayagada, Malkangiri, Keonjhar and Koraput. “We have floated the tender and hope to complete the process by the end of March. The PHCs will be handed over once the process is completed,” an NHM official said.
He said the partnership would initially be for a period of one year and if the agency scored well in the annual assessment, the contract would be renewed. “The concerned district committee of the NHM will evaluate the performance and recommend the changes,” the official added. It is not the first time that the NHM has taken steps to partner with private parties for managing its health centers. “The public-private-partnership does good for the healthcare sector, but has to be evaluated properly to ensure that healthcare is reaching the needy,” ex-director of Capital Hospital P K Acharya said. He said the demand for secondary and tertiary healthcare services was increasing. “Due to inadequate facilities in the country, health centers are often overcrowded,” he added. – TOI