State to set up Medical Corp to provide free medicines

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government on Saturday announced it would set up a medical corporation to provide free medicines at all district headquarters hospitals.

"Free medicines for all diseases will be made available at all district headquarters hospitals later this year. A dedicated corporation will be set up for this purpose," said Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik after the 7th State Health Mission meeting at Secretariat here.

Apart from that the 108 emergency ambulance services will be extended to 30 districts of the state during this year, Patnaik added.

The health department has been assigned the task to frame a policy for the proposed corporation. "Once the draft is ready, we will send it to the chief minister and cabinet for their approval. We will also take steps to stop the medicine procurement through private agencies," informed Damodar Rout, health minister after the meeting.

The State has also decided to increase the bed capacity of district headquarters hospitals at Dhenkanal, Malkangiri, Jharsuguda and Kendrapara to 300.

Patnaik also declared that the Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) of the state would be covered under the National Pension Scheme.

He said about 1.14 crore children of age group 0-8 will be included in the Rastriya Bal Surakhya Karyakrama (RBSK).

Other decisions taken at the meeting included establishment of Intensive Care Units (ICUs) at 12 district headquarters hospitals.

The meeting was attended by Finance Minister Prasanna Acharya, Chief Secretary B K Patnaik and  Development Commissioner J K Mohapatra among others.