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Privatisation of public health sector only a proposal, says Health Secy

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Breaking silence over the proposed privatisation of public sector health services, Union Health Ministry’s Secretary CK Mishra said that this was simply a proposal put forward to the states by the Niti Aayog.

“There is a severe dearth of facilities in certain district hospitals and so in these three sections — cardiac sciences, cancer and respiratory ailments. States have been asked to review the draft and give their suggestions on what they think of handing it over to private enterprises to run,” Mishra told DNA.

Health advisor to Niti Aayog, Alok Kumar said that the proposal that was mooted was merely in draft stage and it is not binding on any state to enter into a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) based on the draft.

“It was merely mooted to get in reactions from states on what their thoughts regarding the PPP models were,”said Kumar.

The proposed draft is not Union Health Ministry’s first brush with private enterprises.

In 2009, the ministry had issued permission to the Adani group to start a medical college in Bhuj district of Gujarat. The intake of students began post 2014.

In 2016, Chitoor District Hospital in Andhra Pradesh was leased out to Apollo group initially for five years and now later the lease has been extended to 33 years. It has begun to be run as a medical college.

This was in accordance to Medical Council of India circular which allowed district hospitals to be leased out to private players for establishing medical colleges.

“The Out Patient Department footfalls of patients have increased since it has been leased out. The services have only improved as far as I have observed,” said Kumar.