GUWAHATI, June 2 - Senior medical professionals, who are members of the advisory committee formed by the State Government, have recommended augmentation of the health infrastructure in the State to fight diseases and setting up of a new infectious diseases hospital.
The members of the committee met through video conference and suggested that the funds collected under the Assam Arogya Nidhi (AAN) should be utilized for developing infrastructure and priority should be given on setting up of an infectious diseases hospital. Emphasis should be given on developing ways to deal with respiratory diseases and high quality testing facilities should be set up in the State.
The members of the committee said that funds should be earmarked for vaccination and there should not be any shortage of funds for research and development. Incentives should be given to healthcare workers and steps should be taken to set up intensive care units in the district hospitals. Medical oxygen generator plants should be set up in the medical colleges of the State and funds should be used for supporting entrepreneurs and non government organizations actively engaged in the war against COVID-19, the committee said.
Speaking in the meeting, former Vice Chancellor of the Srimanta Sankardeva University of Medical Sciences, Dr UC Sarma said that COVID-19 is going to stay for quite some time.
So in the long run, there is a need to think about the utilization of this fund for establishing new health infrastructure in different geographic locations across the State to combat this deadly disease. Some portion of the money can be utilized for short-term immediate remedial measures. Further, some portion of the fund may also be utilized for research purposes by developing new institutes like �Assam institute of health research�.
CMD of the GNRC group of hospitals, Dr NC Bora, suggested that there is a need of certain health institutions exclusively for infectious diseases across the State of Assam and accordingly new infrastructure for control of infectious diseases may be set up with this fund.
Renowned transplant surgeon Dr Sarbeswar Saharia said that development of research activities in certain segment of medical sciences especially in medical colleges in Assam has to be given high priority. Out of AAN fund, some amount should be dedicated to maternal and child health research & development.
Well known medical oncologist Dr Tapan Saikia said that the fund can be utilized for health infrastructure development, which requires a longer time-frame for completion. Department of Respiratory Medicine in the medical colleges needs to be strengthened. Fund to be utilized for improved infrastructure and HR. For immediate visibility, fund is to be used for developing good techniques for antibody production/generation. A fast-testing facility for samples with ultra-modern techniques can also be thought of.
Dr Ilias Ali suggested that 50 per cent of the funds should be utilized for setting up of a state of the art infectious diseases hospital.
Dr Subhas Khanna suggested setting up of medical oxygen generation plants in the medical colleges and creation of ICUs in the district hospitals. As short-term measure, 20 per cent of fund should be utilized for COVID-19 testing and another 20 per cent can be used for developing an ICU in every hospital in the districts which can be up-scaled to CHC level. Further, 10 per cent of the fund may be utilized for each of the following: procurement of certain necessary consumables, installation of medical O2 generator plants in medical colleges, transportation cost, future mass vaccination, research and development and incentives to health care workers engaged in COVID-19 war.
It may be mentioned here that donations to the Arogya Nidhi started pouring in following an appeal from the Government and during the period from March to May, more than Rs 113 crore was collected.