Public health is a big issue, especially when Maharashtra saw deadly outbreaks of dengue and swine flu epidemics. There is a perpetual issue of tribal health owning to large tribal population in north and eastern Maharashtra. Thus, the promises of public health hold a special position in the work of any government in Maharashtra.
Promise– Schemes aimed at eradicating malnutrition and child deaths in tribal population will be initiated through which free nutritional supplements and healthy square meals will be provided to infants and pregnant women.
Government launched the Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Amrut Aahar Yojana wherein children below 6 years registered in Anganwadi and pregnant women are guaranteed square meals. Till now, 14,768 Anganwadis are under the scheme.
The existing schemes have been implemented better for achieving the results.
- Navsanjivani Yojana- Under the scheme, Mobile Medical Squads are sent to tribal areas to reduce maternal and infant mortality. In 2013-14, 172 such squads existed. They have been almost doubled to 281 in 2018-19.
The schemes of the central government have also been implemented diligently
- PM Matru Vandana Yojana- It provides Rs 5000 cash assistance to pregnant women for one child birth. Since 2017, Rs 259.17 crore have been transferred to 7.73 lakh beneficiaries
Nevertheless, a lot of improvement is needed. The National Family Health Survey for 2015-16 says 34.4% of children below 5 years is stunted. Although it reduced from 46.3% in 2005-06, a lot needs to be done.
Promise– Rural dispensaries and primary health centers will be strengthened. Vacancies for doctors will be filled on a priority basis.
Not much has been done to improve the primary health care centers in rural areas. The number has grown a little from 1,811 in 2013-14 to 1,828 in 2018-19.
Vacancies in rural areas is an issue throughout India. Maharashtra tried an innovative solution. It tweaked salaries and tried to woo private sector doctors in the rural areas. It yielded results to a good extent. Moreover, one-year rural service is compulsory in Maharashtra for the MMBS students under the Rural Service Bond.
Promise– A state-wide awareness drive will be undertaken by the public health department to tackle the menace of dengue, malaria and TB as well as the growing health issues like diabetes, high blood pressure and heart ailments.
Not much has been done for starting awareness drives. But there has been considerable reduction in the cases reported for the various vector borne diseases. Following is a comparison between 2013-14 and 2018-19.
- Easy loans will be provided for doctors keen on establishing dispensaries and medical centers in slums, tribal and rural areas.
- Multi-specialty diagnostic centers will be set up in every district using cloud technology.
No specific declaration has been done.
Promise– Telemedicine will be used for treatment, particularly in rural areas.
Under the National Rural Health Mission, a component of developing telemedicine is present. In the last three years, a total of 86,203 patients have been treated via telemedicine, as seen from the Economic Survey 2018-19 of Maharashtra.
Promise– A medical college will be set up in every district.
A lot of new medical colleges have been set up. The process is threefold-
- New government medical colleges- Nandurbar, Jalgaon, Baramati, etc
- District hospitals are converted into medical colleges- 75 district hospitals are under consideration including ones at Buldhana, Amravati, Satara, Parbhani, Nandurbar, Nashik and Sindhudurg
- Five private medical colleges also have got approval
Apart from the above promises, Maharashtra runs a scheme on similar to lines of Ayushman Bharat. Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Jan Arogya Yojana is a scheme that covers medical expenses up to Rs 2.5 lakh including cashless transfer of funds. Since 2014-15 to 2018-19, a total of 29.31 lakh surgeries/ therapies have taken place.