Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao today issued instructions for the opening of 19 diagnostics centres in the state from Monday.
In a move that will make healthcare more accessible to many economically disadvantaged people in Telangana, Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao today issued instructions for the opening of 19 diagnostics centres, set up at pre-identified district headquarters and some major government hospitals, to the public from Monday (June 7). These labs will reportedly conduct a whole range of otherwise expensive medical tests for free.
While speaking to the officials of the health department about various issues, including the status of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and the medical services being offered to Covid-19 patients in the state, the CM was informed that as per his instructions, diagnostic centres had been set up in the Mahbubnagar, Nizamabad, Sangareddy, Medak, Jangaon, Mulugu, Mahaboobabad, Bhadradri Kothagudem, Jagtial, Siddipet, Nalgonda, Khammam, Sircilla, Vikarabad, Nirmal, Karimnagar, Adilabad, Gadwal and Asifabad districts.
In response, the CM asked them to open the same to the public from Monday.
KCR also instructed them to provide good medical treatment to all the people in the state. He said, "All the necessary medical services should be made available to the people. This is the aim of our government. In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, all the basic infrastructural facilities in the state's PHCs have also been improved as part of this same effort. We have already implemented several schemes through which to offer free medical service to the people. The health sector, which was in shambles under the rule of the preceding governments of united Andhra Pradesh has been rejuvenated within a short span of time by us. Under our government, the state is becoming a healthy state. The decision to set up 19 diagnostic centres at the district headquarters in the state is a landmark one in the history of Telangana."
He added, "Medical treatment is becoming more and more costly. As a result, it is becoming inaccessible to many. The poor are forced to sell their properties to get treatment. The cost of diagnostic tests has also been skyrocketing. To detect an ailment, blood and urine tests are a must. These days every other person is suffering from hypertension and diabetes. They are, therefore, forced to get examined for the same. Tests for the heart, liver, kidney, lungs, as well as to detect cancer and thyroid problems are a cost the poor are often forced to bear. And now, even Covid-19 has joined this list. Several tests must be conducted for Covid-19 as well. The government doctors write prescriptions for medicines, but for diagnostic tests, people are forced to visit private clinics where they must spend thousands of rupees to get tests done. This has become a heavy financial burden on the poor. People are facing lot of hardships even to get tested for Covid. In this context, our government felt that it was necessary to subsidise diagnostic tests. Hence, we decided to set up diagnostic labs at the headquarters of 19 districts. Such centres will be set up in other regions of Telangana in a phased manner."
The new labs will conduct 57 tests, including testing for Covid-19. Apart from urine and blood tests, tests for diabetes, hypertension, cardiac ailments, orthopaedic issues, liver, kidney and thyroid-related problems, biochemistry diagnostics, and pathology will also be conducted at the labs.
Talking further about the labs, the CM gushed that besides several routine tests, some expensive specialty tests would also be done at the centres, free of cost.
"The government had made arrangements so that the results of the tests can reach the patients on their mobile phones. Very expensive equipment with state-of-the-art modern technology has been installed at each centre. Such costly equipment was hitherto available only in the corporate hospitals and in major hospitals like the Gandhi and Osmania hospitals, and at NIMs. The government however saw it as important to equip the fire diagnostic labs with this equipment despite the heavy costs involved in this. This was done just to provide the best medical care to the people of the state for free. Officials who have been involved in the process have informed me that all the testing equipment in the labs work very fast and can produce 400 to 800 reports per hour. With such equipment installed, tests results for a large number of patients can be obtained in a short period of time and they can be given medical treatment quickly. We have also ensured that adequate numbers of pathologists, microbiologists, radiologists and other staff needed to conduct the tests are posted at each centre," he explained.
Elaborating further, KCR said, "There are four types of expenses patients must incur while seeking and getting treatment. These include the cost of transport to reach the hospital, the doctor's fee, medicines, diagnostic tests, and expenses for the inpatient. On discharge, transport charges to ferry the patient back home and in case of death, funeral expenses also get added to the list. Identifying that these can lead to catastrophic spending among many poorer families, our government is bearing all these expenses and offering free services to people at government hospitals. For emergency services, the government is running 428 ambulances under the 108 service. 300 vehicles are already in operation for pregnant women under the Amma Odi scheme under which the pregnant mother is transported for free to a hospital and is taken back home after her delivery as well. Now, the diagnostic centres, which will start running from Monday, will subsidise testing."
The CM then reiterated that such a decision was "revolutionary" and evidenced the commitment of the government to the cause of public health.
He asked the ministers, MLAs, and local body representatives to coordinate with the health department officials to ensure that the people in their respective areas could avail themselves of good quality healthcare services.