Bengaluru: The State Government is all set to roll out the much-delayed Universal Health Coverage (UHC) from February 24 to provide healthcare for all.
“Now, the decks are cleared for the launch of the Universal Health Coverage scheme. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah will launch the scheme in the third week of this month,’’ Health and Family Welfare Minister K R Ramesh Kumar told reporters here on Friday.
The minister said all elected representatives and local bodies, including Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) will help the programme to become successful in the state.
“We have allocated more than Rs 1,000 crore for the implementation of the UHC. The government will provide additional funds if the need arises while extending the scheme to all people in the state,’’ the minister said.
Under UHC, all the 1.4 crore households in the State will be eligible for cashless treatment for up to Rs 1.5 lakh in government and private hospitals. Priority and deprived households (BPL card holders), farmers, unorganised sector workers, conservancy workers, members of SC and ST communities, members of cooperative societies, government employees, accredited media persons, and elected representatives (comprising 1.05 crore households) do not have to make any contribution. They will be classified under Category A.
The remaining population can enroll online by paying an annual premium of Rs 300 per person in rural areas and Rs 700 in urban areas. This population will be classified under Category B.
National Health Protection Scheme
Questioning the logic behind the allocation of meagre amount for the implementation of National Health Protection Scheme by the Central Government, the minister wondered how the Central Government has come to the conclusion on the amount required to provide health for around 120 crore population across the country.
“We have allocated Rs 1,000 crore for six crore population in Karnataka to implement the UHC. I am not sure on how the Central Government intends to provide health for 120 crore population by allocating around Rs 2,000 crore,” the minister said.
The minister has said the Central Government has not allocated funds to the state under the National Health Promotion Scheme (NHPS) during the last year.
“The Central Government had announced Rs 1 lakh health insurance per family last year. I am sure not a single family in Karnataka received any money from the Central Government under the NHPS,’’ the minister said.
Self-reliant in primary health care
The minister said the state has the capacity to provide treatment at primary health care level.
“Karnataka has become self-reliant in primary health care segment. Though the government hospitals in the state are treating 30 per cent of patients in secondary care segment, the government hospitals have the capacity to treat 70 per cent of the patients needed secondary care. When it comes to tertiary care, the government hospitals have the capacity to treat only 30 per cent the patients. We have to depend on private hospitals for treating 70 per cent of the patients needed tertiary care,’’ he said.
No response from medicos
The minister said the health and family welfare department has invited applications through Karnataka Public Service Commission (KSPC) to fill up 1,000 vacancies but received only 70 applications.
“We even introduced online bidding for specialist doctors but not received good encouragement from the doctors. There are 53 medical colleges in the state. On an average, around 5,000 medicos come out of these colleges every year but we have no doctors at primary health centres,’’ the minister said.
The minister said installation of dialysis machines at government hospitals at taluks is in progress. “We will install dialysis machines, ultrasound imaging machines and ICU at all taluk hospitals. We will install magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines and CT scanners at district hospitals,’’ he said.
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