Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan has announced the release of Rs.200 crores for a super specialty hospital in Agra so that the residents of the city do not have to run to Delhi for treatment of every major ailment.
Talking to India Today, the minister said the Agra region, which includes a wide zone from Mathura to Aligarh, is in dire need of quality medical care which at present is provided only by private hospitals.
The SN Medical College in Agra is understaffed and does not have facilities to treat a number of ailments.
“Treatment in private hospitals is way above the spending potential of a common man in the region and as a result, most flock to AIIMS and other government hospitals in Delhi. However, the Delhi hospitals too have limited capacity so a large number of patients have to remain on waiting list. To solve this problem, the SN Medical College will be transformed into a super specialty hospital where treatment for most major ailments will be available at an affordable cost,” he said.
While visiting the Agra Mental Asylum, Harsh Vardhan said the city held a prime position in the field of mental health, with one of the oldest mental asylums of the country located here. The minister said that he wasn’t very happy with the condition of the mental asylum and steps will be taken to improve it soon.
“The government is keen on boosting mental wellness of people and therefore October 10 is being celebrated as the National Mental Health Day. The WHO report on mental health in India has clearly stated that by 2020, at least 20 per cent of Indians will be suffering from mental disorders and the government is acting in advance by taking steps to reduce the ratio between mental health specialists and patients,” he said.
Senior neurosurgeon of Agra and SN Medical College alumnus Dr Arun Singh welcomed the visit of the health minister in Agra and said that it was the first time that a Union Health Minister had taken such keen interest in Agra and had visited the city to review its medical facilities.
Dr SK Kalra of the Indian Medicos Association said the state government had been ignoring the medical facilities of Agra for a long time.
“The city does not even have a decent cardio-thoracic treatment unit. The radiotherapy facilities in the town for cancer patients are bare minimum, diagnostic facilities are of low resolution, which overall affects the health of the patients and a lot of patients have to be shifted to Delhi. With the SN Medical College being upgraded, it could be a major respite for patients of Agra,” Kalra said.