J&K govt seeks Rs 367cr from World Bank to fund healthcare institutions

The Jammu and Kashmir government has submitted a comprehensive proposal seeking over Rs 367 crore funding from the World Bank for strengthening of healthcare institutions including dedicated COVID hospitals and ICUs and procurement of critical care ambulances in the union territory, senior health officials said.

The proposal has been prepared by the health and medical education department with the objective of providing state-of-the-art medical services and facilities to people living in urban areas as well as the remotest parts of the union territory, they said.

“A comprehensive proposal was formulated amounting to Rs 367.48 crore (approximately US$ 50 million) and submitted for funding from World Bank,” Financial Commissioner Health and Medical Education, J&K, Atal Dulloo told PTI.

Jammu and Kashmir does not have a major or middle-level chain of hospitals on the lines of those operating in the rest of the country, except Batra hospital in the private sector. A latest report on manpower audit in the health department reveals that nearly 99 percent of the UT’s healthcare needs are met by public health institutes, underlying the importance of the government healthcare system.

“In 2018-19 at least 2.39 crore OPD visits of patients were recorded in J&K and out of them 99.2 percent (2.22 crore patients) were seen only in government hospitals. The private sector accounted for a minuscule 0.8 percent of all OPD visits,” as per the report.

Besides, 96.6 percent (8.36 lakh) patients who needed admission availed public health facilities while 91.3 percent of all deliveries took place in government hospitals, the report said.

Dulloo said the proposal includes strengthening of dedicated COVID hospitals, intensive care units, operation theatres and laboratory services at district hospitals, procurement of critical care ambulances, power backup in district hospitals and provision of manifold and gas pipelines system in community health centres (CHCs) and sub-division hospitals (SDHs) in Jammu and Kashmir divisions.

The health department officials have claimed this is for the first time that Jammu and Kashmir is undergoing a massive and speedy upgradation and expansion of healthcare institutes including setting up of AIIMS, several medical colleges, medical health insurance for all the citizens, bringing investment into the private health care sector, new health care policy and modernisation of rural hospital infrastructure.

Giving details of the proposal, Dulloo said to strengthen dedicated COVID hospitals, machinery and equipment like high flow oxygen devices, modular monitors, nebulizers, oxygen concentrators, infusion pumps, color doppler machines, four 128 slice CT scan machines for government medical college (GMC) Rajouri, GMC Kathua, SDH Sopore and district hospital (DH) Reasi has been proposed with the financial implication of Rs 61.16 crore.