Chief Minister Shri N. Biren Singh has announced that from July 1, 2017, almost all the tests done at Government medical facilities including JNIMS and RIMS would be free of cost.

Speaking as chief guest at the World No Tobacco Day observation held at JNIMS auditorium today, the Chief Minister said that the Government had identified 57 different tests for the said purpose.

He informed that that no one has to pay a single Paisa for these 57 notified tests, which include all blood tests, X-ray, CT scan, all tests for pregnant women and children etc.

All Government facilities including RIMS, JNIMS, District Hospitals, CHCs and PHCs would offer all the notified 57 tests free of cost, he added.

The Chief Minister further said that the second initiative of the Government is that a partner for free diagnostics is being selected through a fair open tender process, which is duly assisted by the NHSRC under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, for providing free diagnostic facilities to further support the State’s free diagnostics initiative.

The partner would set up additional testing labs and enable free testing facilities which would be supported by the National Health Mission, he said and added that the public would not be charged a single Paisa for the tests that would be rolled out by this partner.

The Chief Minister informed that the tender is in an advanced stage and the whole process would be rolled out in the next 3-4 months. Once this is fully functional, no one has to pay for any of the notified 57 tests, either at the Government’s health facilities or at the facilities of the partner. This would be a step that would directly benefit the poor people in the State, he added.

Shri N. Biren further said that the third initiative that the State Government intends to take is to drastically increase the supply of free medicines through Government health establishments.

He said, “Recently, we had launched the Jan Aushadhi stores selling generic medicines, where cost of generic medicines is much less than the branded medicines. We are now going to increase the free drug supply from about 100 medicines to over 300 types of medicines, which would cover almost all ailments. I urge the Health Department to fast track the tender process so that the additional free medicine supplies commence within the next three months”.

With this initiative of free diagnostics and free drugs and medicines, the cost of treatment would be negligible, if not totally free, he added.

Speaking on the impact given to the society by rampant abuse of tobacco, the Chief Minister contended that the State Government is set to ban smoking in public places under Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA), 2003 at the earliest.

Stating that the State Government had already announced ban on sale of all types of tobacco items except cigarette long time back, the Chief Minister spoke on the need to strictly implement the said prohibition.

He further stated that the State Government would continue the ongoing drives against intoxicants and tobacco items.

Health and Family Welfare Minister Shri L. Jayantakumar attended the function as the president while Union Minister of State for Health Smt. Anupriya Patel and Parliamentary Secretary (Health and Family Welfare) Shri S. Subhaschandra as guests of honour.

In her speech, Smt. Anupriya Patel said that tobacco consumption and smoking had caused highest number of deaths across the globe. It hits hard to the people who are mainly in the low and middle income groups in the countries like India.

As such, tobacco consumption and smoking are the major threats to economic wellbeing and sustainable development of the country and the State, she added.

She also mentioned about the need to co-ordinate among Health, Home and Education Departments in controlling sale and abuse of tobacco items.

Speaking at the function, Shri L. Jayantakumar observed that the youths should try to stay away from tobacco items before their occasional use of these items may become a habit. If they have the habit of using tobacco, it would be hard to give it up, he cautioned.

Shri S. Subhaschandra while speaking at the function urged the gathering to give up smoking and use of tobacco products in order to save themselves from dreaded diseases like cancer.

The function was jointly organised by Directorate of Health Services, Manipur, State Health Society, National Health Mission, Manipur and District Health Societies of Imphal East and Imphal West. (DIPR)

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