Govt inks pacts to improve healthcare

The State Government on Saturday signed two MoUs with Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) and Zikitza Health Care Limited to improve healthcare delivery system.

Published: 07th May 2017 02:21 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th May 2017 04:08 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR:  The State Government on Saturday signed two MoUs with Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) and Zikitza Health Care Limited to improve healthcare delivery system.

Speaking on the occasion, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said the State requires more number of specialist doctors to provide expert services in the peripheral areas. The venture with PHFI will provide support to the post-graduate programmes in the medical colleges, he said.

While the Government has been operating 108 ambulance service since 2013 with a current fleet of 420 ambulances to provide quick medical facilities, Naveen said 92 more ambulances will soon be added from the State fund to augment the existing fleet.

Stating that six boat ambulances have been sanctioned from the State Budget to be deployed in the cut-off areas of Koraput, Malkangiri, Kalahandi and Kendrapara districts, the Chief Minister said 28 basic life support ambulances will be upgraded to advanced life support ambulances for improving the emergency response service along the critical roadways. 

In order to improve the response time, reduce cancellation calls and cater to the needs of the people, the State Government has sanctioned additional 92 basic life support ambulances at a projected one-time capital cost of `21.20 crore and recurring operational cost of `1.11 lakh per month per ambulance.   

Zikitza Health Care Limited, which is currently running the 108 fleet, will continue to run the additional ambulances with a common call centre facility. For 102 ambulance service, the Government has decided to outsource the task to an external agency with centralised call centre for ensuring provision of round-the-clock free referral transportation services to all eligible beneficiaries.

Under the scheme, transport service is available to all beneficiaries (pregnant women and sick infants up to one-year-old) from home to designated health facility or from pick up point to maternity waiting home/nearest health facility as per the need along with the drop back facility.  

BJP questions PHFI deal
The BJP on Saturday questioned the State Government's deal with two controversial organisations, Public Health Foundation India (PHFI) and Ziqitza Healthcare Limited (ZHL), which are facing serious charges of financial irregularities. While the PHFI, a Delhi-based NGO, has been barred from receiving foreign funds including from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Zigitza Healthcare is facing a probe from Enforcement Directorate in the alleged ambulance scam in Rajasthan, spokesperson of BJP's State unit Sajjan Sharma told reporters here.

Sharma said the Union Home Ministry has cancelled PHFI's registration under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, alleging violations of the law. Ironically, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has appointed Prof K Srinath Reddy who is heading PHFI as the adviser to the State Government, he said and added that the latter has been accorded the rank of a cabinet minister.

As PHFI was launched by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2006, the State Government signing MoU with the organisation clearly demonstrate the better understanding between the BJD and the Congress, Sharma said.Similarly, the Ziqitza Healthcare has deep connection with the Congress with former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram's son Karti Chidambaram and former minister Vayalar Ravi's son Ravi Krishna were directors in the company. Sharma urged the State Government to cancel the MoUs with the two oragnisations failing which his party will take up the issue to the people.


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