Shillong, August 24 : Union Minister of State for Health & Family Welfare Dr. Bharati Pravin Pawar today reached Shillong as part of a two-day visit to the State to take stock of the functioning of the health department as well as other central government sponsored schemes in Meghalaya. 

As part of her visit Dr. Bharati Pravin Pawar visited and inspected NEIGRIHMS. She also held a review meeting with the officials and staff of NEIGRIHMS. Later in the day, she held a review meeting in presence of Meghalaya Health & Family Welfare Minister, Dr M. Ampareen Lyngdoh with officials of the Health & Family Welfare Department.

Interacting with the media after the meetings, Dr Pawar said that since last nine years the government has been consistently trying to strengthen tertiary care including primary and secondary care. She said “Prime Minister’s vision is to strengthen all the healthcare system through the central government schemes”, she added. Since 2015, additional budget has been provided to NEIGRIHMS to develop the medical college, increase MBBS seats and strengthen the nursing college. She also informed the Press that from the coming year 50 MBBS seats will be increased in the institute and as such the annual intake will be 100 seats. “Every year we are providing funds under different heads to strengthen the NEIGRIHMS. Last year the budget was 480 crore and this year the budget is 528 crore”. She appreciates the efforts of the institute to strengthen the radio therapy treatment unit among other facilities. She further informed that the efforts of the central government has always been to strengthen the institute. 

While speaking about the implementation of schemes through National Health Mission, Dr Pawar said that through NHM the fund that has been provided to Meghalaya this year is approximately 600 crore in the ratio of 90 per cent from the centre and 10 per cent from the State. She also informed that Under Emergency Covid Relief Package-1, the budget provided to control the pandemic was Rs. 25 crore for Meghalaya and under Emergency Covid Relief Package-2 Rs. 117 crore has been provided. Under 15th Finance Commission, the central government is providing Rs. 150 crore to Meghalaya to strengthen Sub Centres and Health and Wellness Centres. “We must focus on preparedness and prevention as envisioned by the Prime Minister to be ready for the next Pandemic,” she added. 

Mentioning about the Pradhan Mantri Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission, the Minister said that through this scheme the government is focused to strengthen all primary, secondary and tertiary care. She also mentioned that with a budget of around Rs. 64,000 crore for the country, around Rs. 150 crore is being allotted for Meghalaya for the next 4 years. 

Under Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) around five lakh IDs have been created. “This helps the patients to take appointments, to get the lab reports digitally it will be helpful for the patients as well as the doctors to take the decisions for the patients,” she added.  

In Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana (PMJAY) Meghalaya, there are around 18 lakh beneficiaries and around five lakh cards have been distributed. The Minister exhorted every eligible beneficiary to come forward and take the benefit of PMJAY, the largest insurance scheme, under which a health cover of Rs. 5 lakhs per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization is provided to poor and vulnerable families. 

Giving an account of Health Health & Wellness centres the Minister said, “Right now nearly 470 numbers of Health & Wellness centres are functional in the state of Meghalaya. Health and wellness centre is a concept where we are focusing on screening and treatment also. In the Health & wellness centre we are also doing primary screening of hypertension, screening for detecting diabetes and screening of various cancers like oral and cervical cancer.”

The Minster appreciated the initiative of the Meghalaya government in successful implementation of tele-consultation in the State till date. The Regional Cancer Centre has been developed in NEIGRIHMS and the focus is to serve the patients suffering from cancer, she added. Appreciating the efforts of the ASHA workers, Dr Pawar said that around 7000 community health workers ASHA are providing dedicated service to provide health care in hard to reach areas of Meghalaya. The Minister lauded the efforts of the state government in reducing the IMR and MMR in the states through its various interventions. 

The Minister specifically appreciated the revolutionary initiative of using drone technology in providing medicines in remote villages of Meghalaya. The minister also appreciated the efforts put in for addressing the issue of high numbers of cancer patients through various anti-tobacco campaigns. The government, through its centrally sponsored schemes, is providing additional budgetary support to supplement the efforts of the States implementation of various health activities, the Minister added.

Dr Pawar also called upon the Governor of Meghalaya Phagu Chauhan and Chief Minister Conrad Sangma later in the day. 

The Minister is scheduled to visit East Jaintia Hills tomorrow to take stock of the implementation of various centre sponsored schemes.