ITANAGAR, July 3: Diagnostic services are provided free of charge to the people of Arunachal under the Free Diagnostic Service (FDS) initiative, implemented by the Government of India through the National Health Mission (NHM).
In the state, the FDS initiative is implemented by NHM Arunachal through the ASR diagnostic group.
The group was selected to provide the services after a tender opened in February 2019 to start services in the state. FDS initiative services have been available since October 2019. So far, services are available at 59 health facilities, mainly district hospitals, CHCs and PHCs, and at the state’s only medical college, TRIHMS, Naharlagun.
Most routine tests are done free of charge as part of the program. However, high-end tests like hormones, tumor markers, and histopathology are not included. From October 2019 to February 2021, a total of 1,977,350 samples were tested, and in TRIHMS alone, 54,426 samples were tested.
From only 30 to 40 sample tests per day at the start of the program, the rate of sample testing at TRIHMS now averages 300 per day.
Some of the main hospitals where this service is available in ICR and Papum Pare are TRIHMS, Sagalee CHC, Itafort UPHC, Chimpu PHC and Hollongi PHC. Fifty-three tests recommended by the Indian government are performed free of charge at most district hospitals, CHCs and PHCs under this program. Clinical pathology, biochemistry and serology tests are covered.
âThis year the plan is to expand the free diagnostic program to all district hospitals and as many primary health centers as possible. We plan to increase the number of tests to 56 â, informed Dr Bombei Tayeng Toko, Nodal Officer (Public-Private Partnership), NHM, Government of Arunachal Pradesh.
She also said that few citizens are aware of this service and more publicity is needed.
Dr Tayeng Toko also highlighted the main objectives of the FDS initiative. âThis is to ensure the availability of a minimum set of free diagnostic services for needy citizens. Also improve the overall quality of health care and the patient experience through the availability of comprehensive health care in public health facilities. To reduce the high personal expenses incurred by patients for diagnostics, âshe said.