Amit Shah, the Union Minister of Home Affairs, has urged the private sector to become involved in research in the field of medical sciences as a means of expanding India’s health sector. This topic was among the numerous health matters discussed at the inauguration of a new facility in Odisha.
The Minister inaugurated SUM Ultimate Medicare, a multi-super-specialty hospital in Odisha state capital Bhubaneswar, during a two-day visit to the state over the weekend. There, he commented “opening medical colleges may not help to totally develop the healthcare sector. The private sector should also stress on research in medical sciences.”
Shah took the opportunity to advocate for improved healthcare in the state. “I hope the new advanced health care facility will cater to all the needs of people,” Shah said. “Thinking that medical and health care facilities will improve by setting up medical colleges is not right as there is a need to have such private hospitals and research centres to improve [the] health sector.”
The hospital itself will span nine storeys and ten acres. As reported by The Times of India, the hospital will be “one of the largest in eastern India.” The report added that the facility “will offer emergency care, heart care, advanced surgical procedures, diagnostic imaging, maternity care and rehabilitation services for a broad range of medical conditions in over thirty specialties with each specialty led by an experienced team of medical care professionals.
“This nine-storied hospital spread over ten acres of land has fourteen modular operation theaters (OTs) and dedicated trauma ICUs besides Pet CT Scan, three Tesla MRI and HDR Bravos BrachyTherapy needed for advanced cancer treatment. The new hospital would have ‘Centres of Excellence’ involving disciplines of cardiac sciences, neuro sciences, critical care and pulmonology, gastro sciences, joint replacement and orthopaedics, renal sciences and onco sciences.”
Dr Swetapadma Dash, the hospital’s chief executive officer, is quoted as saying by The Press Trust of India the facility is not like any corporate hospital. Advanced health care will be available here at a reasonable price. We will offer next-generation treatment in patient-focused and technology-enhanced settings.”
Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan, who was also present at the inauguration, appealed to SUM Ultimate Medicare authorities “to open doors for the poor people.” Pradhan also called on the Odisha state government to implement the Centre’s flagship health insurance initiative, the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana – perhaps better known as Ayushman Bharat. Odisha is among the few Indian states and union territories that have yet to implement Ayushman Bharat, the others including Delhi, Telangana, and West Bengal.
“I request [Odisha] Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to implement Ayushman Bharat so that more poor people can avail better healthcare services,” Pradhan said. Patnaik was present at the hospital’s inauguration. Pradhan also appealed to SUM Ultimate Medicare authorities “to open doors for the poor people.”
Similar overtures have been made concerning Ayushman Bharat and Odisha in the past, including by Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Dr Harsh Vardhan. “It is important that the benefits of Ayushman Bharat should reach all deprived and vulnerable people in the country,” Vardhan said in a letter addressed to the Chief Ministers of the holdout states, including Patnaik. “I will make all efforts to convince the remaining states and union territories to bring the benefits of the scheme to their people and ensure that no eligible person is deprived of these benefits.”