Odisha Draft Health Policy Paints Grim Realities

Bhubaneswar: Even though healthcare in Odisha is in a shambles, the State government is planning to bring a new health policy soon with a 15-year vision. A committee formed under the chairmanship of Health Adviser to the State government Dr K. Srinath Reddy has sought suggestions from experts to finalise the health policy.

As per the data furnished in the draft health policy, Malaria, and TB have assumed alarming proportions in the State whereas Dengue, Japanese Encephalitis and Swine Flu are spreading its tentacles. Besides, a large number of people in the State suffer from malnutrition and anaemia.

The draft policy also cited that the State hospitals lack infrastructure and require experts to provide treatment to patients. As many as 86% Medicine Specialist, 80% Paediatrician, 79% Surgery Specialist and 62% Gynaecologist posts are lying vacant in different hospitals across the State.

There are only 10 health workers in Odisha for 10,000 people as against 23 health workers mandated by the World Health Organisation, the draft policy stated.

The Health Advisor to the Odisha government said, “The health policy of State is being developed with a 15-year perspective. The key point is to make sure that all areas are improved to provide the best possible healthcare to the people of the State.”

Meanwhile, BJP and Congress termed the proposed health policy eyewash in wake of the poor infrastructure in the State.

“The draft policy is only restricted to discussions only. Often the government schemes are mere announcements. People won’t be benefitted in any way,” said Suresh Kumar Routray, Congress MLA.

“As the Heath sector is in a shambles, the State government is trying to hide its failures with this vision policy,” said Pradip Purohit, BJP leader.

Begging to differ, Health Minister Naba Das said, “People of the State are getting free MRI scans and medicines because of the measures taken by the State government. We are committed to provide better healthcare to people.”