Millennium Post

Hike in budget shows Bengal's focus on healthcare services: Health Secretary

Kolkata: Binod Kumar, Secretary of the state Health department, said on Thursday that the Bengal government's emphasis on improving the healthcare services in the state has been reflected in the increase of budgetary allotment.

Kumar said that the budget allotment, which had been Rs 3,584 crore in 2011, has gone up to Rs 9,557 crore during the current financial year. He was addressing the gathering at the inaugural session of the 14th Healthcare East organised by CII in the city on Thursday.

Kumar said that there has been a "quantum jump" in health personnel strength, with the number of doctors in government hospitals going up from 4,800 in 2011 to 11,700 in the current year and the number of nurses up from 37,000 in 2011 to 52,850 in 2019.

The Health Secretary added that 42 new superspeciality hospitals have been set up

with 6,483 paramedics and 30,000 support staff, while tenders have been floated for 27 private nursing schools to boost the number of nurses involved in health services at the various state government hospitals.

Speaking on the affordability of healthcare in the state, Kumar spoke about the Swasthya Sathi scheme in Bengal which brings 75 million people of the state under its coverage.

People are availing benefits of health services worth Rs 5 lakh per annum. According to Kumar, Bengal is nationally ahead in terms of system delivery, immunisation and in reducing infant and female mortality rate.

He said that the state government has been able to come up with a considerable number of sick new baby units, pediatric intensive care units and trauma care units, along with a remarkable increase in government hospital beds.

The government has also been able to leverage IT platforms for the Swasthya Sathi package and payment claims of the same, he added.

Andrew Ford, Consul General of Australia in Kolkata, elaborated on how India and Australia can come together to forge a strong partnership in areas of quality and remote care, alternate medicines, chronic disease management, critical support expertise, geriatric care, increasing women workforce participation and high-end research.

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