When we get a product or any service done at a very low cost, nine out of ten times we think the quality of the product or service is low. Isn’t it so?
Things are the same when it comes to healthcare system as most of the population believe that medicines and services provided at government hospitals are of inferior quality. And that is the same reason why many prefer to shell out thousands of hard earned money in private corporate hospitals for the same medicines and services.
This article is intended to highlight some of the useful yet rather not so popular services offered at government hospitals in India. Try out the following services and save some $$$. This page will be updated as new healthcare programmes are being introduced and hence, it’ll be a good idea to bookmark this page for easy reference in the future.
MUST READ: Healthcare System in India – An Overview
#1 Basic Out Patient Department facility is provided at all levels of government hospitals starting from primary health centres (PHC). Patients need to pay a meagre 1 to 5 INR for a single consultation and a full course of medicines. The same consultation alone can cost a person around 100 INR at a private hospital or clinic and another 300 INR for the medicines. The change is more evident when it comes to basic surgical procedures like wound dressing, catheterisations, wound repairs with sutures, incision & drainage, intravenous fluids etc. Some of these services comes to around a thousand bucks in private hospitals!
#2 Laboratory and Investigations are much cheaper in government hospitals when compared to the private or even the co-operative sector. Where else can you get an ECG done at 30 INR? a chest X-ray done at 75 INR? and a CT scan done at just one third of the usual price? Blood, urine and other biological lab tests are also being done at government hospitals for a namesake fee.
#3 Non Communicable Disease control programme has already been explained in detail in this post. Persons suffering from heart diseases, hypertension, diabetes, dyslipidemia are examined by doctors, vitals recorded in NCD diaries and medicines are given for one full month after giving proper advice. A single day of the week is earmarked for the NCD clinic at all government hospitals and you can easily get the full functioning details of your nearby public health centre’s NCD programme with just a phone call! A good reason why you should consider making that call is that all the services provided at the NCD clinic including the consultation, examination, BP monitoring, lab tests and even the medicines are provided FREE of cost.
#4 Vaccines and Immunization programmes are a key component of any public hospital. All the vaccines included in our national immunization programme are given to the beneficiaries at the right time. Trained multi purpose health workers register each and every new born baby from their birth to their fifth birthday and with the help of ASHAs and Anganwadi workers, make sure that all these children are vaccinated properly at the right time. Moreover, the cold chain system for retaining the potency of vaccines is strictly maintained only at the public hospitals.
ALSO READ: Why you should Vaccinate your Children?
#5 Mother and Child Tracking System is a web based application used by the multi purpose workers to enter the details of new pregnant women and update the services provided to them including three antenatal checkups, Tetanus toxoid vaccinations, delivery status, newborn to age 5 vaccines etc. The MCTS software makes sure that all pregnant women and children till the age of 5 gets proper healthcare checkups, medicines like Iron, Vitamin A and vaccines. It is maintained by the public health nurses and is strictly reviewed at PHC, block and higher levels every month. To enjoy the benefits of MCTS, simply give your mobile phone number to your neighbourhood ASHA when your wife or sister gets pregnant. A text notification will be sent to the registered phone number to confirm the registration. Reminders of vaccinations will also be sent to the same number. One more thing, if the delivery was conducted at a government hospital, you get paid by the government!
#6 Family planning services offered at public hospitals are the favourites of even middle class educated population in Kerala. The “cafeteria approach” is still working like a charm when it comes to family planning measures. Simply contact your area’s public health nurse or ASHA and choose from condoms, oral contraceptives, intra-uterine contraceptive devices like copper-T and much more. If you choose copper-T (only for women), you can get it inserted at the primary health centre free of cost. One might get more options at private hospitals, but certainly not free of cost.
#7 Are there members in your family who require full time assistance of a third person for doing daily activities? If yes, register the patient’s name at your nearest PHC palliative care unit. A team of healthcare workers will visit your home once or twice in a month to give proper hospice care for the patient. Economically backward families might be eligible to receive air-beds, water-beds, walkers, crutches, wheel-chairs and other costly instruments free of cost as part of this programme. For more details on the palliative care programme, click here.
ALSO READ: How we helped the differently abled persons.
#8 There are some instances where one should consider visiting the nearby government hospital rather than a private one. The main benefit here is of course, monetary. So here are those situations:
- When you’ve been diagnosed with tuberculosis (TB). The medicine (DOTS) provide by the RNTCP (revised national tuberculosis control programme) is free of cost and can be had at health facility very close to your home
- When you’ve been bitten by a stray dog or cat (considering the ever rising cases of such incidents in Kerala), the IDRV (intra dermal rabies vaccine) is administered free of cost at government hospitals. You’ll have to dig deep into your purse if you’re going the private road in this particular situation.
- When you’ve been bitten by a snake or any unknown bite where the administration of ASV (anti snake venin) is required. Private hospitals might charge you a fortune if it goes for more than a couple of days treatment.
- You are a chronic kidney disease patient who require frequent dialysis. God bless you if you’re a millionaire!
At the end of the day, all decision on which hospital to visit will be made on the basis of number of zeroes in your savings bank account or the premium amount that you pay as health insurance. But, I think, the above listed situations are worth considering. And in order to check the quality of the drugs and medicines and services provided at government hospitals, you’ll have to try it at least one time, right?
Want my opinion? I can say confidently that, it WORKS!
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