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Free medicines for all in Odisha

Odisha Government has announced free medicines for all diseases to all patients at all government hospitals across the state. A decision to this effect was taken at the seventh meeting of the State Health Mission presided over by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Saturday.

Naveen told mediapersons after the meeting that medicines for all the diseases will be made available in Government hospitals. Out of 328 types of medicines, only 38 types of medicines are available in Government institutions now.

The State Government has decided to set up a dedicated procurement corporation, the Odisha Medical Service Corporation (OMSC), for purchase and distribution of medicines to all government hospitals.

Health and family welfare minister Damadar Rout said: “Once the corporation comes into existence by September, medicines will be distributed to the people. The BPL patients are already getting monetary benefit from the Odisha Treatment Fund to get treated for critical diseases both at government and private sector hospitals.”

Official sources said distribution of free medicines would entail an estimated expenditure of Rs 240 crore this fiscal. “The government was providing free medicines for certain diseases. The scheme would be expanded for all diseases,” a health department officer said, adding, “The proposed corporation would follow the Rajasthan model.”

The Chief Minister also announced that free ambulance service will be extended to all the 30 districts in the State.

This apart, beds at the four district headquarters hospitals — Kendrapara, Jharsuguda, Malkangiri and Dhenkanal — will be increased from 100 to 300.

The state government has also recognised contribution of the Accredited Social Health Workers, women health volunteers working at the grassroots level. All the 38,000 workers will now be covered under the National Pension Scheme. As part of the scheme, the government will contribute Rs 1,000 every year for each worker.

The government also plans to establish intensive care units at 12 district headquarters hospitals and Capital Hospital.
Free medicines by Naveen Patnaik

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