Nurses attend to a patient in a hospital
The editorial “Slow but steady start” (September 27) does a great analysis of how has the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana panned out in its first year. We need regular 'stock taking' of all such public schemes launched by the government. This one is particularly important as it attempts to tackle a long pending need of the nation and the society.
"4.5 million cases of hospital treatment in the first year" is very impressive for a new scheme. It is a very large number by any standard, notwithstanding that it represents only a small percentage of the "number of possible cases in the country". Of course, the issue of scaling up needs to be addressed but that should not make us scoff at this achievement.
You have hit the nail on the head, when you conclude that common requirement for the success will be the expansion of state capacity; this is important when it comes to public sector hospitals. We have huge “non-performing assets” lying out there in the form of many public hospitals and district/primary health centres all over the country — mostly non-operational because of non-availability of doctors, nurse, para-medics and medicines, consumables etc. We have to leverage these assets soon to make the scheme a reality. Depending solely on 'partnerships with private sector service providers' is just not going to work. The government can't afford those costs.
Krishan Kalra, Gurugram
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