Karnataka ranks top in health, wellness centres: Minister

Amid the pandemic’s second wave, Karnataka ranked top across the country in setting up maximum health and wellness centres, Health Minister K. Sudhakar said on Tuesday.

“With 2,168 primary health centres (PHCs) and 3,300 health wellness centres (PWCs) set up in the state during fiscal 2020-21, Karnataka ranked number 1 in the country’s healthcare infrastructure,” he said in a statement here.

Asserting that development works in the health sector continued despite the pandemic, the minister said the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry had set a target of setting up 2,096 PHCs and 2,263 PWCs across the state in fiscal 2020-21.

“Against the set targets, we have set up 2,168 PHCs and 3,300 PWCs, under the Ayushman Bharat programme to provide comprehensive healthcare in urban and rural areas,” said Sudhakar, a medical doctor himself.

The state government also upgraded 364 urban PHCs against the target of 294.

“Against a target of having 4,653 HWCs, we have 5,832 HWCs across the state to provide quality healthcare for all under the centrally-sponsored scheme,” he said.

The state government is also upgrading 11,595 centres as HWCs under the Arogya Karnataka scheme as part of the Centre’s National Health Mission.

“Counselling sessions for adults, public yoga camps, providing temporary and permanent family planning methods to couples, ENT care, first aid during emergency and referring to tertiary hospitals are among the services being offered in these centres,” he said.

Admitting that the state was facing revenue crunch due to economic slowdown caused by Covid-induced restrictions and lockdowns, Sudhakar said the Health Department was more focused on containing the coronavirus spread.

“Though our immediate goal is to reduce the Covid caseload, our long-term goal is to strengthen PHCs as building blocks of our public healthcare system,” he added.