Kolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on the occasion of World Health Day once again reiterated the state government's commitment to ensure health services to one-and-all free of cost. She also made a special mention regarding the increase in the institutional delivery and reduction of the infant mortality rate in the state.
In her tweet on Saturday, Banerjee said: "Today is World Health Day. At government hospitals and health centres in Bengal, we provide free treatment to all. Medicines and diagnostic procedures are available at discounted rates. We have made good progress in health infrastructure development."
One of the most significant achievements of the state government, as pointed out by the Chief Minister, is to increase the institutional delivery in the state and also lower the infant mortality rate.
"Maternal and neonatal health has been our special focus. As a result, infant mortality rate (IMR) has come down to 25 from 32. The institutional delivery rate has increased from 65 percent to 95 percent in the last six years," Banerjee said. After coming to power, the Mamata Banerjee government has brought a sea change in the health infrastructure at all the state-run hospitals and health centres across the state. Almost all state government employees, part-time and contractual workers have been included in the Swasthya Sathi Scheme introduced in 2016.
The scheme has enrolled 44.5 lakh government employees and their families so far who have been provided 64KB smart cards. So far, 96,088 patients have availed the cashless healthcare benefit scheme at 850 hospitals and nursing homes in the state. It has been learnt that the total estimate approved by the Finance Department for the group health insurance scheme is around Rs 1,364 crore.
Bengal is the first state to bring about the concept of Mother and Child Hub in the state-run hospitals. A brainchild of the Chief Minister, the Mother and Child Hub (MCH) has come up at various medical colleges, district and sub-divisional hospitals. Infant mortality rate (IMR) in the state has come down to 25 from 32 due to constant efforts of the state government. Bengal has also achieved Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) of 25 per 1,000 live births, which is much below the national average of 34.
It is the Mamata Banerjee government that has also brought the concept of "Waiting Huts". The idea has been conceptualized to increase the institutional delivery in the rural areas of South 24-Parganas, Sunderbans and various other districts. The project was started by the state Health Department in the rural areas following the instruction of the Chief Minister who laid enormous emphasis on institutional deliveries in remote areas. The main purpose of setting up of "Waiting Huts" in the villages was to reduce the Infant Mortality Rate and also the death of mothers before or after delivery.
The project provides free healthcare facilities to pregnant women in far-flung areas. The project will soon be replicated by the Centre as the Parliamentary Committee on the empowerment of women has shown interest in it.
The "Waiting Huts" are functional in the rural hospitals in areas like Gosaba, Madhab Nagar in South 24-Parganas, Khulna in North 24-Parganas and Chakulia in Uttar Dinajpur, Tufanganj Sub-divisional Hospital, Cooch Behar, block primary health centres in Mahisail, Shaktipur in Murshidabad, Ratua in Malda and Teghari, Hooghly etc.
It may be mentioned that four medical colleges have been set up by the present government. Seven more will come up in the state. Around 42 multi/ super-speciality hospitals have also come up in various parts of the state.
A quiz contest was organised by the Department of Community Medicine at College of Medicine and Sagar Dutta Hospital on the occasion of World Health Day on Saturday. It was inaugurated by principal and Dr (Prof) Manidipa Roy, the Head of the Department of Community Medicine department that emphasised on the universal health coverage for everyone.