Karnataka to upgrade primary health centres soon

Amid the Covid pandemic, Karnataka on Thursday decided to upgrade all the Primary Health Centres (PHCs) to ensure quality healthcare to the citizens across the southern state.

“All the 2,380 PHCs in the state will be equipped with modern equipment and their bed capacity increased to 20 from 12. Funds will be allocated for upgrading the centres in the state budget for fiscal 2021-22,” said state Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa here.

The state health department will also increase the staff strength of the centres and services to the patients.

“Final year students of the MBBS degree course will be appointed to the PHCs, as one-year training in state-run rural hospitals has been made compulsory,” said Yediyurappa after chairing a meeting with Health Minister K. Sudhakar and the state health department officials.

Sudhakar said ambulances would be e-linked to provide quick services in rural areas.

“Of the total PHCs across the state, 951 of them are working on 24×7 basis. Upgradation will enable the remaining centres to offer services round the clock,” said Health Secretary Jawaid Akhtar on the occasion.

The PHCs are involved in tracking, tracing and testing Covid patients and their primary and secondary contacts since the pandemic broke in the state on March 8 and to contain the virus spread.

“The modernisation of the PHCs is in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream of offering best healthcare services to the people in rural, semi-urban and urban areas across the state,” asserted Sudhakar.

Though the state has 6.5 crore population, only one PHC caters to 30,000 people. The ambitious project envisages more PHCs to serve additional patients.

“Each PHC will have 3-4 doctors, including an Ayush and a woman medical practitioner in place of a singe medical officer. The centres will also have facilities for doing yoga and wellness,” said Sudhakar.

The upgraded PHCs will also have a lab for blood test, radiology section with x-ray unit, closed circuit television (CCTV) camera and broadband connectivity to facilitate expert consultation through tele-medicine.

“As lack of housing facility is also a reason for doctors hesitant to serve in rural PHCs, the centres will have a two bed-room house for them and one-bed room house for nurses and auxiliary nurse midwife,” added Sudhakar.

Bed capacity of state-run hospitals in all the 30 districts of the state will be increased to 500-700 from 200 to serve more patients.

As against one ambulance for 1-lakh population presently, every PHC will have a modern ambulance to cater to 30,000 people.

Community health centres will also be upgraded across the state.