India Today - - NATION -

The 30 PHCs in­volved in this pi­lot project re­ported vastly im­proved ser­vice num­bers in the first six months alone IN­CREASE IN PA­TIENTS AC­CESS­ING OPD IN­CREASE IN IN­STI­TU­TIONAL DE­LIV­ER­IES Also in­volved are ex-gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials, such as R.K. Meena, who served as the chief med­i­cal and health of­fi­cer for the dis­trict of Sawai Madhopur. Dr Meena now heads the PHC at Bharoti. In his words, progress has been noth­ing short of “dras­tic”. The Bharoti PHC now re­port­edly serves over 2,000 pa­tients, in­clud­ing 200 in-pa­tient ad­mis­sions ev­ery month.

An­other as­pect of the PPP re­lates to new tech­nol­ogy. Speak­ing to

in July, Chief Min­is­ter Raje said that she was im­pressed with the sheer range of in­no­va­tion WISH had to of­fer, in­clud­ing a non-in­va­sive, smart­phonebased test for haemoglobin lev­els and a mo­bile pathol­ogy lab that is equipped to per­form 37 dif­fer­ent kinds of tests at a frac­tion of the cur­rent cost (see box: A Wish Ful­filled). In ad­di­tion, WISH is also in­creas­ing the ‘ac­tive’ com­po­nent of health­care: free am­bu­lances for ex­pect­ing moth­ers, fol­low-up vis­its for two months af­ter birth, as well as rov­ing ‘aux­il­iary nurs­ing mid­wives’ who bring PHC health­care ser­vices to vil­lage homes. “I could sense lot of in­no­va­tive ideas in tech­nol­ogy,” CM Raje said, “and in the way health ser­vices should be man­aged.”

How­ever, many re­main scep­ti­cal. “The real chal­lenge will come when [it] is ex­tended to the en­tire health sys­tem,” says Amit Me­hta, a Hisar-based alum­nus of the All-In­dia In­sti­tute of Med­i­cal Sciences (Delhi), who runs a multi-spe­cial­ity host­pi­tal in the state. He be­lieves that un­less pri­vate com­pa­nies have a sense of pub­lic ser­vice, this could de­volve into a mere mon­ey­mak­ing en­ter­prise. Na­gen­dra Sharma, a neuro-sur­geon and pres­i­dent of the as­so­ci­a­tion of med­i­cal prac­ti­tion­ers in Jodh­pur, says the same, adding that the project could “serve a death blow to na­tional [health] pro­grammes”. Nonethe­less, CM Raje ev­i­dently has great ex­pec­ta­tions of it. Given the his­tory of this prob­lem, as well as the scale, it is clearly go­ing to be a long haul. That be­ing said, if she man­ages to see it through to the end, the CM will have achieved some­thing that few politi­cians have man­aged so far: she will have gen­uinely im­proved the lot of the com­mon man.

Fol­low the writer on Twit­ter @ro­hitO

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