New Delhi: Chief Minister of Rajasthan, Ashok Gehlot joined the launch of season 9 of NDTV-Dettol Banega Swasth India and extensively spoke about how his government is addressing the healthcare needs of people. At the 12-hour Lakshya – Sampoorn Swasthya Ka telethon, CM Gehlot categorically said that health is one of the priorities of his government. During the first wave of COVID-19 in India in April 2020, Bhilwara, one of the biggest Covid hotspots, controlled the outbreak after the government launched an aggressive response that came to be known as the ‘Bhilwara Model’.
When asked about the learnings from COVID-19 and the changes required in the healthcare sector, CM Gehlot said,
Since 2012, Rajasthan has been providing free medicines, tests and dialysis. We have a campaign on right to health. No other state offers Rs. 10 lakh insurance cover. Today it is about social security. We also offer Rs. 5 lakh accident cover in case of drowning, accident, and death by electric current, among other incidents. Treatment is free for outpatients and in-patients. Tests are also free. The government bears the medical expenditure from five days prior to the admission to the hospital, and 15 days after the discharge and 22 lakh people have benefitted from this. Similar to Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS), Rajasthan Government Health Scheme (RGHS) has been introduced.
CM Gehlot also shared the health report and statistics on maternal and child health. Highlighting the progress, he said,
Maternal mortality rate (MMR) has come down from 445 in 2005 to 141 now. The infant mortality rate (IMR) has dropped from 68 to 30. We have a network of Primary Health Centre (PHC), Community Health Centre (CHC) and district hospitals; we are taking every step and everyone is benefitting. During the second delivery, 99 per cent of women opt for institutional delivery that has positively affected IMR and MMR.
Under the Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY), a cash incentive of Rs. 6,000 is provided on the birth of a first child. In Rajasthan, a monetary benefit is given on the birth of the second child as well, said CM Gehlot.
I have requested PM Modi to support our initiative. Ayushman Bharat is nothing without it. 90 per cent of families are associated with our programme whereas, in the country, only 41 per cent are associated. We are ahead of every state. Our target is to provide health security to all families, he said.
At the telethon, many experts raised the concern of shortage of doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals, especially in rural areas. When asked how the Rajasthan government is addressing the issue, CM Gehlot said,
No matter how many doctors your hire in rural areas, they don’t stay. This has been a long-standing problem and we are worried about it. Our motive is to make doctors and nurses stay in the village. We are making efforts to fix it.
Talking about other initiatives of the government, he said,
People have financial constraints. There is inflation in the country and people are suffering after the COVID. We are providing a meal at Rs. 8 to around 1,000 people through Indira Rasoi Yojna. I have tasted that meal and it is good. We conducted Gramin Olympic under which 30 lakh people (from 10-year-old to 80-year-old) including 10 lakh women enrolled online and 2.25 lakh teams were made. When people will go to ground it will aid good health.
Asked about the need to empower women, CM Gehlot said empowerment of women is a priority and the state government has taken many steps in this regard. He said,
Around 1.35 crore women have been made heads, we are giving them smartphones with free internet service for three years and a project has been started. Women should talk about periods in the family and they should get free sanitary pads. Some women use cloth pieces or cotton which leads to infections and diseases like cancer. We are providing free sanitary napkins to women under the Udan Scheme.
CM Gehlot lauded the Banega Swasth India initiative, the longest public health TV campaign, and said, “I believe all TV channels should undertake such initiatives. It is important to focus on social security.”
While signing off, he told NDTV,
Change is coming and Rajasthan is not behind.
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.