Karnataka's budget for healthcare seems well balanced

Karnataka's healthcare budget prioritizes critical care, new hospitals, cancer services, and medical education. Emphasis on child health, emergency services, and infrastructure development is notable. Implementation will be key for success.
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah arriving to present Budget at Vidhanasoudha.
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah arriving to present Budget at Vidhanasoudha.Nagaraja Gadekal

The Karnataka budget has many plus points for the healthcare sector. It is good that they have set up many state-of-the-art critical care blocks across many districts of the state and are building new taluk-level hospitals and renovating old buildings. This will certainly add to the critical care services which were the need of society and became obvious during Covid-19. This is unique and necessary way to take healthcare to the masses.

The setting up of a child hospital in Bengaluru and the provision of 24/7 emergency healthcare services to rural people with the upgradation of community health centres and building of primary health centres is commendable and the need of the hour. Emphasis on primary care health and wellness centres and strengthening of district hospitals with  tele-ICU systems is again a necessity, especially with the epidemic of noncommunicable diseases increasing in the country and am glad the government is implementing it.

There is a dire need for cancer care and chemotherapy centres in view of huge increase in the number of cancers and it is welcome that the government has set up daycare therapy centres in each district for various cancers and is also working on early diagnosis of cancers in women. Treatment of acute MI at the earliest can save lives and the hub-and-spoke model at all taluk hospitals is a welcome move.

Investment in the diagnosis of tuberculosis and other illnesses and budgetary allocation for safety measures including firefighting systems in district hospitals is another welcome measure. In addition to setting up new medical colleges, a huge grant that is going to be provided for the construction and purchase of equipment for medical colleges will certainly increase the supply of doctors and hopefully, they will be adequately staffed. Since severe kidney disease numbers are increasing, the extension of a 40-bed nephro-uro hospital in Mysuru to a 100-bed hospital will help a large number of patients on dialysis.

Upgradation of hospitals by investing in state-of-the-art robotic surgical machines, modular OTs and setting up of super-specialty hospitals in various parts of the state will improve tertiary and quaternary care in the state. Multiple projects in areas of women and child development will go a long way in improving paediatric care and child health and women’s health. Strengthening Anganwadis and support to caregivers of people with neurological disabilities is again a much-needed investment.

In conclusion, the budget for healthcare overall seems well-balanced, taking into consideration, primary and preventive health, promoting wellness and health in rural and semi-urban areas, child and maternal health, critical care and emergency services which became very important during the Covid times, super-specialty services and also the care of the differently abled. It also addresses the need for increased healthcare professionals in the state, but the proof of the pudding as always would be dependent on how well this is implemented.

Dr Sudarshan Ballal,

Chairman, Manipal Hospitals

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