The right to affordable healthcare is one of the basic rights of a citizen anywhere in the world. In India, a coveted destination for the vast majority of medical tourists from around the globe, sadly, medical care is often out of reach for the citizens. With a population well over 2.54 crores (data from 2011 census), Haryana is no exception. Healthcare facilities, in the state, still seem to be out of bounds for the common man.
In 2009, the Haryana state government embarked on an elaborate plan to set up the polyclinics across the state. These polyclinics would provide free medical facilities to the residents of the 17 Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) colonies in the state and the sectors adjoining them. Each of these polyclinics would be staffed by 40 doctors, nurses, and other technical and non-technical staff. The purpose of setting up these polyclinics was to provide low-cost healthcare for citizens, who would otherwise need to travel great distances to reach civil hospitals for the treatment of minor ailments. Each of the polyclinics was to cost INR 3 crore.
Simply put, the proposed polyclinics never took off. By 2011, the construction of these polyclinics was completed but they were never equipped with the requisite staff and infrastructure. By 2011, when, despite the construction of these buildings, the government had failed to get polyclinics up and running, HUDA authorities proposed that the constructed buildings be auctioned out to private buyers. Affordable healthcare became a low priority issue in the ensuing red tape and nothing has been heard of in the press about these polyclinics ever since.
Affordable healthcare should not remain a dream. To bring effective medical facilities close to the rural sector, crores need not be pumped in. Forming partnerships is the most effective key here. Partnering with major pharma companies shall enable the state to open up mobile medical services low cost but effective facilities in the villages. Providing scheduled weekly transportation from village medical units to the existing civil hospitals is another action the state may want to pursue. Training and awareness camps for medical practitioners in rural sectors will help with knowledge enhancement and better treatment options as well.
Our vision of a new and successful Naya Haryana will be a reality only when the citizens of the state are free from the burden of fulfilling the basic necessities of life, such as hunger, education, and healthcare. The dream of providing each citizen with low cost but high quality healthcare will be realised in Naya Haryana.