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Government planning water ambulance service between Gateway, Alibaug

Maharashtra government said it is soon planning to start a water boat ambulance service between Gateway of India in South Mumbai and Alibaug in neighbouring Raigad district.

Deepak Sawant-AV

Replying to a debate in the Legislative Council on health-related issues raised by Neelam Gorhe (Shiv Sena) and others, Minister for Public Health Deepak Sawant said the water boat ambulance has been started on a trial basis in the Nar-Par river basin on Gujarat border.

“The project can be replicated at Tapola lake at Mahabaleshwar and Pranhita river bordering Andhra Pradesh,” he added.

On the malnutrition cases, infant mortality and deaths of pregnant Adivasi women in tribal areas, Sawant said issues like road construction, providing nutritious diet to children and expectant mothers are related to departments like Public Works, Tribal, Women and Child Development.

He said, “(The role of) Health Department comes in late and (it) is (still) held accountable for deaths.”

“In the mapping done of medical equipment purchased by government in last 10 years, it has been found that nearly 15,000 such equipment were found to be inoperative,” the minister said.

Sawant announced that the government will soon start biometric attendance for doctors and nurses in government hospitals.

“Besides this, the government also intends to start Referral Audit System for doctors at district hospitals so that they can be questioned about why the cases have been referred to private hospitals,” he said.

The minister said the government is also mulling to expand the scope of Rajeev Gandhi Jeevandayee Arogya Yojana from next October to include procedures like hip joint replacement, knee joint replacement, inserting stents from two to three and snake bites.

“The government also has plans to start specialised units like neurological care at district hospitals,” he said.

On surrogacy, Sawant said the government will recommend to the Centre that laws should be made stricter so that women are not allowed to opt for surrogacy methods with exceptions like in cases of cancer and if she cannot bear a child.

“It (surrogacy) should not be allowed for women who do not want to bear their second child and want to hire a surrogate womb,” Sawant said.

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