Aam Aadmi Party has welcomed and accepted the debate challenge given by Dy CM and Health Minister O.P Soni, through a joint statement of Aman Arora (MLA Sunam) and Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer (MLA Barnala) released from party headquarters here on Sunday. Earlier, following the steps of his fellow Congressman Pargat Singh, Punjab’s Health Minister O.P Soni challenged Aam Aadmi Party for a debate on healthcare system of Punjab and Delhi, and what their governments has done to improve it in their tenures. Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Punjab’s MLA Sunam, Aman Arora took a dig at Punjab’s Dy CM and Health Minister Mr. O.P Soni and alleged him of ‘trying to mislead people with numbers’. In an interview Punjab’s Health Minister O.P Soni challenged AAP for the comparison between healthcare system and medical facilities of Punjab and Delhi, claiming that Punjab is ahead of Delhi in every aspect. Reacting to his claims AAP leader Aman Arora said that Punjab’s Health Minister has one too many responsibilities, like being Deputy CM of dramatic Congress government, so he forgot to mention the real condition of Punjab’s healthcare system.
Talking about the numbers Aman Arora said that in a hurry to compare Punjab and Delhi healthcare system, O.P Soni forgot that Punjab needs healthcare system according to nationally set norms and WHO standards. According to national norms in rural Punjab there should be 700 plus PHCs but there are only 416, similarly around 200 CHCs are required in our rural area according to the population but we have only 87. Even in these 87 CHCs not even one centre has 24x7 emergency services or all four required specialists to provide these services. Aman Arora added that 80% of these CHC are without any specialist at all. He challenged O.P Soni to name one CHC in rural area that is providing the perfect services according to the national norms.He said that even the buildings of some primary and community health centers have been declared unsafe in the state, let alone the availability of medicines, equipments and staff there. In a Union Ministry of Health and Welfare report of 2019 more than 50% of PHCs in state didn’t even meet any criteria and hence was declared not eligible, even for 0 grade. Mr. O.P Soni should tell people of Punjab what has their government done for these Primary Health Centers?
Aman Arora (MLA Sunam) said that Mr. O.P Soni is trying to mislead people of Punjab with mere numbers, when he’s actually trying to veil the reality of miserable condition under which the government hospitals, sub centers, PHCs and CHCs are running in the state. According to AAP leader poor management and non-seriousness of Congress government towards the public sectors, especially education and health, is the major reason of deterioration of these systems and facilities. He said that under the rule of Badals-BJP and Congress, the whole public healthcare system of Punjab, including government hospitals, primary and community health centers, have been destroyed but none of them have ever batted an eye, because they wanted private sector to flourish. Now private healthcare facilities are expensive that common people can’t even afford treatments and they are living at the mercy of God only.
Community health officers, doctors, nurses, clerical and other contractual employees under NHM (National Health Mission) are continuously staging dharnas for their demands, whereas the state government has turned a blind eye towards them. Aman Arora accused Congress government of deliberately ruining public healthcare system and not paying hard working employees appropriately. He further said that if Health Minister really wanted to part information on Punjab’s Health system then he should address the issue of various healthcare workers, who are currently on strikes for one or another reason. He should also give data about all the vacancies, lack of equipments, medicines and pitiable condition in which most of health centers are running. Aman Arora again stressed the issue of same number of sanctioned posts of doctors today in Punjab as 1980 and abolished posts of specialists by the previous SAD-BJP government. He further added that one third of nurses’ posts and more than half of the pharmacists’ posts are vacant in the state.
Reacting to the same issue AAP MLA (Barnala) Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer said that Aam Aadmi Party welcomes this challenge by Health Minister O.P Soni because such issues should be discussed widely and politics should have an equal space for the basic needs. He further claimed that this challenge will meet the same fate as the challenges of Education Minister Pargat Singh and urged Deputy CM not to flee the battle later. He said that for the last five years Congress government hasn’t done anything for this sector and now their Deputy CM is trying to deceive people, when we all know that quality treatment in state is out of reach of common people. Government hospitals, PHCs and CHCs are without doctors, lab technicians and nursing staff. He said that only AAP government in Punjab can improve health and education system in Punjab and make it affordable for common people and Punjabis know so.