GE-Wipro consortium to upgrade Maharashtra healthcare infrastructure

A consortium led by General Electric Co of the US and Indian software services leader Wipro Ltd, along with a body of the Maharashtra government, will invest Rs1,500 crore ($27 million) to upgrade and manage medical equipment in government-run hospitals in the state.

Scanning MachineThe consortium, which includes Maharashtra's public health department, Wipro GE Healthcare Pvt Ltd and Ensocare – a part of the UK-based by Enso Group – will set up advanced diagnostic facilities at 22 government-run district and women's hospitals, it was announced at a function in Mumbai.

These will operate 24/7 to provide services at government recommended rate cards.

Holders of orange and yellow 'below poverty line' (BPL) ration cards will be entitled to free diagnostic services under the Rajiv Gandhi Jeevandayee Arogya Yojana (RGJAY) scheme at all 22 facilities, which are expected to be operational within a year.

The PPP agreement with Maharashtra is the largest in terms of scale and includes the installation of four units of 64 slice CT scanners, 13 units of advance 16 slice CT scanners, eight units of cutting edge 1.5T magnetic resonance imaging systems, 22 digital radiography systems, 39 colour Doppler's and 39 analog X-ray units.

These advanced imaging systems will allow district hospitals to provide early and accurate diagnosis in the clinical specialty areas of neurology, cardiology, vascular imaging, emergency/trauma, oncology, obstetrics and gynaecology, orthopaedics and gastroenterology.

In addition to providing general purpose radiology, women's health will be given a special boost with the inclusion of 20 screening mammography units for early breast cancer detection.

Speaking on the occasion, Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan said, ''Today we are on to a large-scale modernisation of district hospitals with the latest diagnostic technologies. No single agency can transform the entire healthcare system but by working together with partners such as GE and Ensocare, we can take a giant leap in advancing healthcare to people at all levels in society.

''We hope to give benefits of this PPP model to patients under the Rajiv Gandhi Jeevandai Arogya Yojana Scheme in the state and also lower the costs for all categories of patients.''

John Rice, vice-chairman of GE, said, ''Through public-private partnerships, patients are the biggest winners as they'll have access to advanced and affordable healthcare that previously wasn't available to them.''