Health workers urge for improved infrastructure in public hospitals

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Mumbai, Nov 13 (UNI) Even as the Maharashtra Government and the city civic officials apparently sought to downplay the revelation that no public hospital has come up here in the last 10 years, health workers urged policymakers to undertake urgent measures to improve the public health infrastructure so as to achieve 'health for all ' by 2020.

Responding to the revealation that came out through a recent study, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) Addittional Commissioner Kishor Gajbhiye admitted that not a single public hospital has come up in Mumbai since 1998. He, however, said the BMC was regularly upgrading facilities at all its existing hospitals and a couple of new hospitals are also being planned.

When asked about the reasons why no new public hospital has come up in Mumbai, a top official of the State Government said all possible efforts are being made to improve quality of general health care in the city. He said the facilities at JJ Hospital here, which is the largest referral in the state with over 30,000 indoor and five lakh outdoor patients every year, is being upgraded at a cost of Rs 120 crore under the Prime Minister Swasthya Suraksha Yojna.

Another official of the state planning department said even the existing facilities have helped to improve the health standard of the people in the state, which is evident from the relatively low Crude Birth Rate (CBR) of 18.5 per 1,000 population, low Crude Death Rate (CDR) of 6.7 and low Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) of 35 as compared with the corresponding rates of CBR (23.5) CDR (7.5) and IMR (57) for All India.

The State Government has continuously been increasing allocation for health services in Mumbai and other parts of the state as well, he said, adding that in the State Government's annual plan for 2008-2009, allocation for health is Rs 907.65 crore as against Rs 819 crore last year, the official pointed out.

The State Helath department sources, however, said paucity of funds and non availability of land is the main reason why the State State Government could not come up with any new hospital in Mumbai in the recent past. ''Why do you ask only about public hospital, not a single Megawatt additional power could be generated in the State sector in last one decade, largely due to lack of funds,'' the source pointed out.

''It may be shocking for others but we knew it that there has been no new public hospitals is Mumbai. Policymakers have to think and think fast that if the situation of Public health infrastructure care in the financial capital of the country is in such a bad state how can we move towards the goal of achieving health for all by 2020 AD, set by World Health Organisation, a NGO functionary, Neelam, working for control of HIV/AIDS among the migrant workers in Mumbai,'' the sources observed.

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