After all the mull over initiating free medical tests/diagnostics in public health facilities in Rajasthan, the wait is finally over. While JSA Rajasthan has continuously been advocating and demanding free medical test at all govt. health institutions as an essential step towards universal health care, the Chief Minister of Rajasthan has finally made the formal announcement for its launch in his budget speech on 6th March 2013. He announced launch of free medical testing scheme from April 7, 2013 (World Health Day) initially in medical colleges, district hospitals and satellite hospitals under which all the basic medical tests (urine, blood etc) and also tests like ECG, X-ray, sonography will be made free for everybody. The scheme will have its second phase from July 1 under which all the CHCs and PHCs will be covered. In the third phase of the scheme from Independence day, the facility of free testing will be made available for free in all the city dispensaries, he said.
Keeping into consideration all the positive response, acceptance and applauds which the free medicine scheme of the state has received, the Chief Minister, Mr. Gehlot also announced to increase the number of generic medicines which are distributed free in government hospitals under chief minister free medicines scheme, from presently 477 to 600. You could recall, this increase in number of medicines happened in the backdrop of JSA Rajasthan successfully blocked an attempt of the SMS Hospital (The biggest tertiary level public hospital of Rajasthan) to impair the free medicines schemes by creating a parallel structure of procuring both generic and branded medicines and sell them at less than market rates. SMS Hospital had even floated the tenders but had to cancel them after the intervention of the Health Minister Mr. Ahmad. In the meeting chaired by the minister and attended by a delegation of the JSA Rajasthan besides all the senior most officials of the department, it was decided that no public hospital of Rajasthan can sale medicines and their equivalents which are part of the free medicines and the Priincipal of SMS Medical College and Supdts. of hospitals were asked to provide list of additional medicines to include in the free medicines scheme. JSA Rajasthan provided a list of such medicines which were not part of the scheme till then but can be considered for inclusion.
Apart from this, the Chief Minister and the Health Minister in a recently held meeting with them have also very positively accepted JSA Rajasthan’s suggestion of establishing State Institute of Clinical Excellence to ensure administration of quality health services to patients seeking treatment. The proceedings for the same should start soon.
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