GUWAHATI, June 18: The Leader of the Opposition in the Assam Legislative Assembly, Debabrata Saikia welcomed the state government’s move to tie up with the Tata Trust to established 19 cancer hospitals in Assam which would be linked with the national cancer grid.
Saikia, however, in a communiqué cautioned against possible neglect of the government-funded health sector in the state. He mentioned that according to 2014 data of the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO), the average hospitalization cost per person in the rural areas of Assam is the lowest in India at Rs. 6,996 and 89.2% of rural inhabitants go to government hospitals. Conversely, the average hospitalization cost per person in the urban areas of Assam is the highest in India at Rs. 47,064.
Saikia observed that one of the main reasons for the high hospitalization expenditure in urban areas is that 48.5% of patients go to private hospitals. Such patients include people from rural areas who are forced to go to private hospitals due to reasons like shortage of Specialists and other doctors and defective or defunct medical equipment in government hospitals. An unbridled thrust on joint public-private sector healthcare in such a scenario is likely to put an enormous financial burden on the common people in future, the opposition leader said.
Saikia added that since infant and maternal mortality is very high in Assam along with prevalence of diseases like anemia, encephalitis, diarrhea, hypertension and diabetes, the government should also concentrate on strengthening the low-cost public healthcare system at the grass-root level.