In an effort to boost the national healthcare plan proposed in the Budget 2018-19, the Indian Railways plans to set-up primary healthcare centres along with Jan Aushadhi stores and sanitary pad vending machines at around 7,000 stations across the country.
The ministry of railways stated that its infrastructure must be used for providing primary healthcare services at affordable rates.
The ministry has joined hands with the ministry of health and family welfare to mark details of the plan, which could include allowing the private sector to set up diagnostic centres
To start things off, the railway intends to install sanitary pad vending machines at stations across India. According to sources, the dispensing machines will be set-up in ladies lavatory.
This idea came through at a recent meeting between railway minister Piyush Goyal and women and child development minister Maneka Gandhi.
The office of Piyush Goyal tweeted, “Aiming to provide primary healthcare services at affordable prices to people, Indian Railways to start primary healthcare centres along with Jan Aushadhi stores and sanitary pad vending machines at around 7,000 stations across the country.
The rail ministry has offered space at stations to the Department of Pharmaceuticals in the chemicals and fertilizers ministry to set up Jan Aushadhi stores.
Anil Galgali, a railway RTI activist said, “This is a good step. We also request that when they start the same, attention should be given in its monitoring and the maintenance. Though, these helpful schemes are implemented. Due to the lack of attention these schemes fail to work.”
A plan to provide subsidised healthcare facilities to coolies (porters) and their families is also being worked upon. There are around 20,000 coolies working at railway stations.