Opposition criticises Congress on health care issue

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Hyderabad, Aug 4 (UNI) Accepting Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy's challenge for a public debate on State's health care policies, the Opposition parties today put a barrage of questions to the Congress on the Government's pet 'Rajiv Arogyasri', the health insurance scheme for the poor.

Talking to newspersons here, Telugu Desam Party(TDP) spokesman K Sivaprasada Rao said the party was not against the scheme, but only opposining its faulty implementation in the State.

Dr Rao said hardly 0.5 per cent of the poor were benefitted by the scheme, leaving millions of people to suffer due to ailments like malaria and diarrhea.

The Congress Government had ''neglected'' over 1500 Public Health Centres and 6000 sub-centres, which were allocated a meagre Rs 20 crore per year for drugs, Dr Rao alleged.

The TDP leader also questioned the credentials of the private Insurance company, which was entrusted with the implementation of the programme.

Meanwhile, Lok Satta Party President Jayaprakash Narayanan told a separate press conference that ''the high costs incurred on tertiary care interventions are disproportionate to benefits derived''. The Government's present policy left millions of patients untouched and did not focus on preventive aspects, he added.

He suggested the constitution of a committee, comprising renowned health experts like Magasasay awardee R S Aroie and retired health care Professor from Jawaharlal Nehru University Imran Qadeer, both members of the Prime Minister's Committee on health care, to suggest measures to improve the State Government's health policies.

Tens of thousands of children were born every year with preventable birth defects for want of immunization of pregnant women, Dr Narayan said.

Likewise, children in the age group of 5-15 were developing rheumatic heart disease, caused by throat infection for want of timely medical attention, he said, adding that millions of people were suffering from preventable blindness.

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