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BENGALURU: As Covid puts a strain on the health infrastructure and workforce in the state, one would have expected a higher allocation of funds for the public health sector. But it remained at 4 percent of total household spending, although the allocation improved slightly to Rs 11,908 billion from Rs 10,122 billion last year. This time around, the focus is on developing the low-budget infrastructure to replenish the workforce and create policies and programs. Over the next two years, intensive care units with a capacity of 25 and six beds will be set up in 19 district hospitals and 100 Taluk hospitals to use the health facilities created during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Primary health centers (PHCs), which are exposed to higher work pressures, are gradually being converted to model PHCs to provide additional services and modern facilities. You will get the equipment you need and you will also see a rationalization of the workforce available. Dr. H. Sudarshan Ballal, chairman of Manipal Hospitals, said that while the government has allocated more funds to health care this year, public health spending in the country has generally risen low. “However, given the economic devastation from the pandemic and the crisis of funds, this seems like a reasonable budget,” he said, rating it 7 out of 10.
“With the continued modernization of oxygen beds, intensive care beds, isolation beds and testing facilities, the allocation for these could have been higher to combat future pandemics,” he said. The budget also includes 10 crore to set up laboratories in Ballari and Bengaluru to detect hereditary metabolic diseases in early stages to reduce newborn mortality.
Dr. Sylvia Karpagam, a doctor and public health researcher, said, “Laboratories should meet several diagnostic requirements. Why only hereditary metabolic diseases? There are many preventable causes of newborn mortality. Why is the government not addressing this? Nor is the cause of malnutrition due to lack of breast milk, but problems related to access to a balanced diet, health care, livelihood, income, etc. The government should also have identified and invested in the gaps in public health care. “
Dr. CN Manjunath, director of the Jayadeva Institute of Cardiovascular Science and Research, said, “Subcentres with 50 beds at KC General Hospital and one at Davanagere with 100 beds will be established to ease the burden in Jayadeva. This is where our employees are hired who will help many people. However, we had expected that a full-fledged Jayadeva hospital in Hubballi would serve the population of Dharwad and Belagavi. “