The flipside of the pandemic is that it has improved India's health infrastructure by pushing both the government and private sector to incur unplanned expenditures on COVID-19 related services. While the country is grappling with the worst-ever health crisis following the outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease, Meghalaya has done reasonably well in containing the deadly virus. Meghalaya, infact has recorded less than two thousand active COVID 19 cases so far.
One person who deserves credit for this is the state health minister Alexander Laloo Hek, a silent crusader who during this time has meticulously assessed and taken stock of the progress and roadblocks of the public healthcare sector in the state.
In his words, "Strengthening health infrastructure has been a priority of the Meghalaya Government in recent times along with undertaking measures to overcome the challenges caused by the ongoing pandemic."
Strengthening health infrastructure has been a priority of the Meghalaya Government in recent timesAccording to the minister, the health infrastructure in various health centres like the Community Health Centres (CHCs) and Public Health Centres (PHCs) across Meghalaya shall be upgraded. He also added that the health department has been sanctioned a sum of Rs 75 crore from the state government for the purpose. "The sanctioned amount is specifically meant for upgrading the available infrastructure, which includes the extension of a building or upgrading medical equipment in a health centre. No funding will be done for a new project," Hek elaborated.
Incidentally the decision to upgrade the health infrastructure was taken during a video conference that the Minister recently had with the district health officials. Hek also informed that the amount sanctioned is meant for the first phase and that the infrastructure upgradation project entails four phases.
He stated, "We aim to improve infrastructure, including power and water supplies, last mile connectivity and quarters of the healthcare staff and doctors. We are focusing on strengthening the health care systems in the districts and shall form committees with deputy commissioners as chairpersons and DMHOs as member secretaries to monitor everything. Under this initiative PHCs, CHCs and dispensaries shall be upgraded".
The state government is now also focusing on renovating some primary health centres which have not been renovated for the past two decades. COVID-19 has exposed the fault lines of the healthcare delivery system at different levels especially in terms of infrastructure. Infrastructural handicaps translate to the biggest obstacles in terms of securing quality and affordable healthcare particularly in remote areas. Therefore according attention to infrastructure upgradation is the need of the hour.