An ambitious Rs10,000 crore project, led by the Union ministry of health and family welfare, to set up over a dozen multi-speciality hospitals and medical education institutions across the country, under the so-called National Rural Health Mission, will kick off in the first week of October with the opening of architecture and design tenders for six hospital projects.
The six medical institutions —being modelled on New Delhi-based All India Institute of Medical Sciences—at Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Jodhpur, Patna, Raipur and Rishikesh costing Rs1,500 crore are expected to be completed in 2009. Other phases of the National Rural Health Mission, including super-speciality hospitals and medical institutions in 11 states, will be finalized soon.
This is the first major government investment for health care infrastructure in the country, even as private players such as Fortis Healthcare Ltd, Max Helathcare Ltd, Hinduja Group, Apollo Hospitals Ltd, and Wockhardt Hospitals Ltd, among others, have earmarked between Rs10,000 crore and Rs15,000 crore for new hospitals and expansion of existing ones.
According to an official at the state-owned Hindustan Latex Ltd’s procurement and consultancy division, which has been appointed a consultant to the first phase of the project, the government has received 14 “expressions of interest for the design and architecture of the six AIIMS-like medical institutions proposed in the project.”
IVRCL Infrastructure & Projects Ltd, RITES Ltd, HSCC India Ltd, Hospitech Management Consultants Pvt. Ltd, Technicalia Consultants Ltd, Kotari Associates Ltd, and Borg Lor Associates Ltd are among those that have bid for architecture contracts.
The proposed institutes will be equipped to handle multiple diseases and disorders with 800 hospital beds along with intensive care units and trauma care centres. They will have medical colleges with annual intake of 100 students and will also offer doctoral courses.
The following phases of the National Rural Health Mission, which include upgradation of seven medical institutions in six other states, and setting up of super-speciality medical institutions and research centres in another five states through the public-private partnership model, are also being finalised. The government is also planning upgradation of about 700 hospitals in rural areas especially in underserved states.
The emphasis on health care infrastructure under the five-year, Rs40,000 crore National Rural Health Mission of the government comes in the wake of strong criticism from non-governmental organizations and national healthcare action groups. “The government has been always targeting drug prices, which is only 5% to 10% of the healthcare cost of common man, but had never thought of improving the healthcare facilities as well as controlling the costs that has more than tripled over the last couple of years,” said Rajendra Kalsekar, a trustee of Daya, an Ahmedabad health care NGO.