Sunday, August 23, 2009

Co-opt private sector in fight Against swine flu: Lok Satta

The Lok Satta Party today asked the Government to explore the possibility of associating the corporate hospitals and others in the private sector with the fight against swine flu, which is assuming epidemic proportions. Private sector health care players can educate and enlighten people on preventing the spread of the disease and undertake preliminary treatment, if they don’t have full-fledged facilities.

Recalling the Union Health Minister’s warning that the swine flu might affect one-third of the country’s population, the Lok Satta pointed out that the Government would have to launch measures to prevent and arrest the spread of the disease. As of now, only a few hospitals in Hyderabad are in a position to test and diagnose swine flu cases and fewer still to treat patients.

Talking to the media, party spokespersons V. Laxman Balaji and K. Gita Murthy said, the Government had virtually outsourced most life-saving surgeries to the private sector under ‘Arogyasri’ and is enriching their coffers. “There is no reason why the Government could not co-opt the private sector in tackling swine flu.”

“The breakout of swine flu has once again underlined the danger of encouraging the private sector at the cost of the public sector in health care. The fact that only 22 beds have been offered by just five corporate hospitals for swine flu patients exposes to what extent the Government can rely on the private sector in case of a national emergency.”

The Lok Satta leaders demanded that the Government strengthen institutions in the public sector and ensure that quality health care is accessible to all.

They also demanded that the Government turn its attention to the plight of tribal people in Agency areas who are suffering from a host of diseases ranging from malaria to typhoid.

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