'Gujarat to follow Rajasthan model in healthcare'

'Gujarat to follow Rajasthan model in healthcare'

Though Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi projects his state as the “model” state for others to replicate but is keen to follow Rajasthan in the area of healthcare. 

Gujarat seems impressed with much talked-about Rajasthan’s free medicine and diagnostic scheme.

Dr Sumit Sharma, director of Rajasthan Medical Services Corporation and the man behind the project said the Gujarat government recently organised a conference “An action for healthy Gujarat” in Gandhinagar onDecember 3. 

Dr Sharma was also invited at the event where he gave a presentation on the free medicine scheme, which entails procurement of medicines for distribution to government hospitals and dispensaries. Under the scheme, the drugs are acquired after a rigorous quality control process.  

Gujarat Health Minister Nitin Patel was also present at the conference. “Impressed by the programme, the minister asked for a detailed presentation the next day (December 4) and expressed his keen interest in implementing the same in his state,” Dr Sharma told Deccan Herald. 

 Sharma said the Health minister asked his principal secretary P K Taneja to prepare a pilot project. He said the health officials of the Gujarat government would visit Rajasthan next week to study the project’s functioning.

Rajasthan offers essential medicines and diagnostic facilities to the patients free of cost at government hospitals.

The government procures the generic versions of medicines through the process of tender by the nodal agency, Rajasthan Medical Services Corporation and distributes them among patients through the hospitals.

This way, the cost of medicines drops by 75 per cent because they are generic and also because the state buys them in bulk. The scheme has proved to be a boon for the state’s health care.

Later, the government also offered the essential diagnostic services — such as dialysis — free of charge.

The scheme has earned appreciation from various global organisations including World Health Organisation. 

However, it was criticised by the opposition leader Vasundhara Raje during the Assembly poll campaign when she described the free medicines as ‘poison’, a comment which drew flak from various quarters. 

The issue was later joined by Sonia Gandhi and Narendra Modi leading to bitter exchange of words. However, now when the dust of poll campaign has settled, good sense seems to have prevailed and Gujarat government appears keen to follow the suit.  DHNS

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