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Mega Project to Revamp Karnataka’s Healthcar

Bangalore: Karnataka has finalised an $800-million project to revamp its healthcare infrastructure and train health professionals //at the grassroots - a scheme that is expected to benefit over 45 million people.

Health Minister Ashok R. said: "We need to strengthen our medical facilities at the village level and the project will certainly help upgrade primary healthcare centres (PHCs). The scheme would benefit over 45 million people at the grassroots."

Says Usha Ganesh, principal health secretary of Karnataka, "The project is a collaboration between the World Bank and the state government. Out of the total project amount, the World Bank has agreed to fund $600 million and the rest is by us."

"The main purpose of the initiative is to train thousands of healthcare professionals in the taluk (sub-district) and village level," Ganesh told IANS, adding that the scheme would remain operational till 2012.

The scheme involves training PHC professionals, providing health insurance and building public-private partnership in infrastructure.

Ganesh said in the next five years, around 1,671 PHCs would be revamped. They would be given adequate infrastructure to deal with.

"We are devising a special training course for all PHC professionals. They will be trained in primary health issues like chikungunya and malaria," she said adding that HIV-related health problems like sexually transmitted diseases and infections would be given focus through this scheme as well.

Karnataka had reported over 150,000 chikungunya cases last year.

The health minister said the state government would upgrade 63 taluk government hospitals. While 38 hospitals would be upgraded from 30-bed capacity to 100 beds, the remaining 25 would be upgraded from 50-bed capacity to 100 beds.

The minister said the salaries of contract doctors in the state were under review and may be increased. The governmen t is planning to increase the salary of contract doctors to Rs.19,000 and specialised doctors to Rs.20,000, he added.


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