Every bonafide citizen must get vaccination: TMC
Kolkata: At a time when the country is fighting the Coronavirus pandemic, Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Dr Santanu Sen claimed Centre spends only 1.3 per cent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on its healthcare system.
He also said the Centre should not go ahead with COVID-19 vaccination "on the basis of voters' list", but facilitate inoculation for every person in the country. TMC MP and Indian Medical Association (West Bengal chapter) president Santanu Sen said there are reports that the Centre is firming up guidelines to begin a vaccination drive based on voters' list of persons aged over 50 years. "How can vaccination be done on the basis of voters' list? What about the citizens whose names may not figure in it, but who have other documents? Will they be left out," Sen told a press conference. He said the TMC demands that every bona fide resident of the country be extended the benefit of vaccines.
According to a recent study of the Global Health Spending Index, India ranked 155th in a survey consisting of 158 countries. Citing the study, the MP said the health spending index in the country is poorer than its neighbours like Bangladesh and Pakistan. In India, as the study suggests, less than 4 per cent of the budget is spent on health.
"The Centre's performance in the health care sector is pathetic," the MP said. On the contrary, the MP claimed that much has been done in Bengal under the leadership of Mamata Banerjee for developing the health infrastructure.
"In the past 10 years, the budgetary allocation in healthcare in Bengal has increased three times. It has gone up to Rs 11, 280 crore from Rs 3442 crore in 2010. The number of hospitals has gone up by 46 per cent during this period. The numbers of doctors and nurses have gone up by 219 per cent and 5.4 per cent respectively. The infant mortality rate has gone down from 32 per cent in 2011 to 22 per cent in 2020. Institutional delivery has increased from 68 per cent in 2010 to 98 per cent in 2020," the MP said.
Dr Sen said nowhere in the country health care facilities in government establishments are free. "Most critical surgical interventions are done for free in Bengal and thousands of people have received its benefit," he added. He insisted that in Ayushman Bharat 40 per cent of the medical insurance is paid by the state governments while the remaining 60 per cent is paid by the Centre.
In Swasthya Sathi 100 per cent of the premium is paid by the state government and 10 crore people will be brought under its coverage. In the case of Swasthya Sathi, it takes only 30 days to settle
the claims. He said more than 60 lakh people have so far visited the Duare Sarkar camps across the state and out of this more than 60 per cent have applied for Swasthya Sathi cards. The MP held the Centre responsible for spreading COVID-19 in the country. "Had the Centre taken immediate steps when the first Covid case was detected in Kerala, the pandemic would not have spread across the country. He said the state government has spent Rs 5,000 crore to combat the disease.