Health Minister’s visit adds to patients’ pain

Balbir Singh Sidhu compares Sehat Bima Yojana with Obamacare

Health Minister’s visit adds to patients’ pain

The entry to Community Health Centre, Dudhan Sadhan, blocked in Patiala on Tuesday. Tribune photos: Rajesh Sachar

Karam Prakash

Tribune News Service

Patiala, February 18

Health and Family Welfare Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu today compared former American President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform plan — ‘Obamacare’ — with Punjab’s ‘Sehat Bima Yojana’.

Addressing a gathering at Dudhan Sadhan block in Patiala, Balbir Sidhu said the CM adopted the same healthcare plan adopted by the US. He was here to launch a diabetic retinopathy screening programme during a state-level health camp.

He said CM Capt Amarinder Singh took a major step towards universal healthcare by adding 32 lakh families to the Central Government’s Ayushman Bharat scheme. He said: “We have covered almost everyone in the scheme. 4,000 bypass surgeries have already been done since the launch of the scheme.”

The minister said despite the shortage of doctors and paramedical staff, the state government was giving the best of the health facilities to people.

Diabetic retinopathy programme launched

Sidhu launched a diabetic retinopathy screening programme here today. Patiala Civil Surgeon Harish Malhotra said: “Diabetic eye screening was a test to check problems caused by diabetes. Notably, if it’s not found early, one can lose eyesight completely.”

Meanwhile, health officials also released an awareness manual for health workers.

CHC upgraded

The Health Minister announced that the Dudhan Sadhan Community Health Centre

(CHC) would be upgraded to a sub-divisional hospital (SDH). He also visited the Sanour Primary Health Centre and announced that it would be upgraded to a CHC.

Health centre locked for patients

Activity at the Dudhan Sadhan CHC came to a standstill owing to the visit of Sidhu and Patiala Member of Parliament (MP) Preneet Kaur. The out-patient department (OPD) was without doctors for long as they were busy in welcoming the Health Minister.

Amrik Singh of nearby Julkan village had to return back without consultation for his stomach infection. He said: “The doctor, who I am supposed to get treatment from, is busy in welcoming the minister. I was told to come tomorrow.”

On this, the Health Minister said: “We are here only to spread awareness about the health schemes. If patients faced problems, I will see into it.”

Meanwhile, Patiala Civil Surgeon Harish Malhotra said: “All the doctors were holding OPD at Sehat Mela, therefore, patients were being asked to visit the Sehat Mela. He said that no patient was being denied treatment due to the minister’s visit.” 

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