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Published on: March 31, 2022, 4:24 p.m.
ONGC lays a health pipeline in Upper Assam
  • A patient is being treated at ONGC’s Siu-Ka-Pha Multi-specialty hospital

By Business India Editorial

The tiny town of Sibsagar in Upper Assam is blessed with tremendous natural resources and has a rich history. However, this historic town lacked basic medical facilities. ONGC has been operating in Sibsagar for the last six decades and was aware of the challenges.

In 2016, ONGC engaged PwC to carry out a need assessment study to understand the actual medical requirement of the region. The results were alarming; Sibsagar had 0.52 hospital beds per 1,000 people, less than half of the India average of 1.1 beds per 1,000. A majority of the patients had to travel either to Dibrugarh or Guwahati for secondary care treatment and people were travelling outside Assam for tertiary treatment.

Based on the findings of PwC, ONGC collaborated with Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Vaidakiya Pratisthan (BAVP) for construction, operation and management of a 300-bed multispecialty hospital with the objectives of providing quality healthcare facilities to all sections of society at an affordable cost, reducing the hospital bed deficit in Upper Assam and providing tertiary care treatment locally. It is being implemented in three phases at a cost of Rs313 crore. BAVP is a not-for-profit organisation and has around 30 years of experience in providing quality healthcare at affordable cost to all sections of community. The Siu-Ka-Pha Multi Specialty Hospital was thus set up, named after the first Ahom King of Assam.

Even for a simple dialysis, people of Sibsagar used to travel to Dibrugarh three days a week, which was more than 90 km away. To address this critical issue of dialysis and other basic medical facilities, ONGC decided to start the first phase of the hospital before the scheduled timeline with 67 beds including eight dialysis beds, which has resulted in delivering affordable healthcare to the people. Further, the treatment is being provided at 70 per cent of the market cost, which ensures a steady inflow of OPD patients. In the last two-and-a-half years, more than 4,600 OPD patients have been served and 12,000-plus dialyses have been performed, which has ultimately ensured the sustainability of the hospital. 

Passing on the benefits

 The OPD fee at the Siu-Ka-Pha Hospital is Rs150 which is less than one-third of other similar hospitals charge in the area. The net benefit/savings passed on to patients in the last two years only through OPD was Rs14.02 crore. Similarly, the cost of a single dialysis at a hospital in Dibrugarh was twice that of the Siu-Ka-Pha hospital. Accordingly, benefits worth Rs2.33 crore have been passed on to patients.

Affiliating the hospital with Ayushman Bharat and Atal Amrit schemes of the Government of India has ensured a regular inflow of patients which has resulted in initial sustainable operations of the hospital. Since, the hospital runs on a not-for-profit model with capital infrastructure coming up from ONGC CSR funding and the majority of the staff engaged from local areas, the cost towards recurring expenditure was minimal. The income generated from quality OPD, IPD, surgeries, pharmacy, diagnostic treatment, and pathology services, ensures the sustainability of the hospital.

In the last two years, more than 45,984 OPD patients have used the services of the hospital. As much as 12,135 dialyses have been performed. The hospital has ICU beds, special wards and general wards and is equipped with basic diagnostic facilities. Dialysis patients who earlier used to visit Dibrugarh, three days a week are now using the services near their home which has ensured more than 60 per cent savings.

Other services are being provided at 75 per cent of the market cost ensuring quality treatment even for people from the economically weaker section of society. Moreover, the hospital is registered under the Government scheme of Atal Amrit and Ayushman Bharat, which has benefited large number of underprivileged families.

During the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak in 2020, as an emergency measure, a 20-bed Covid-Care centre was set up and subsequently, during the second wave of the pandemic in 2021, another 40-bed fully equipped inflated Covid ward with oxygen facilities was set up in record time. Till December 2021, more than 620 Covid patients were provided treatment.

Once the third phase of the hospital is commissioned, more than a lakh of patient will be benefited every year. The Siu-Ka-Pha Multispecialty Hospital is significantly contributing towards achieving the objective of SDG-3.

The Siu-ka-Pha hospital currently has 67 beds. A total of 162 more beds will be added in 2022 and another 100 beds are planned to be commissioned in phase three. By 2025, more than one lakh patients will be using the services of the hospital every year.

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