JAMMU, Jan 31: Minister for Health & Medical Education, Bali Bhagat today said the Government is striving hard to further improving the health facilities across the State, for which several initiatives have been taken. He said health is the prime concern of everyone and Government is making concerted efforts to extend this facility at the doorstep of the people.
Winding up the discussion on the functioning of the Health & Medical Education Department in the Upper House today, the Minister said the health system in the State has practically changed from what it was a decade ago by witnessing significant changes. The State of Jammu and Kashmir has registered significant decline of eight points in Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) in a single year from 34 to 26, which is the highest among all states.
Government is providing health facilities to the people across the State with a network of 5536 health institutions, which include 4435 Govt. Health Institutions and 1101Private Health Institutions, besides one SKIMS, two Super Specialty Hospitals, four medical colleges, 13 Associated Hospitals and two Government Dental Colleges, which means that majority of healthcare facilities are being catered in Government sector, the Minister said.
To further augment the health sector, the Government of India has sanctioned 826 Sub-centers during 2014-15 under National Health Mission (NHM), out of which, 683 Sub-centers have been made functional by way of recruiting 1 ANM per Sub-center and also providing Rs 50,000 per Sub-centre as untied grants during current financial year. Besides, the department has also increased the bed capacity in secondary & tertiary care Hospitals to 7882 5083 beds respectively, he added.
He said 4208 posts are being referred to the recruiting agencies for making early selection. Moreover, to supplement the availability of manpower in various levels of health facilities in the State, additional manpower has been hired on contractual basis under National Health Mission in the State, including 1454 doctors, 5499 para-medics, the Health Minister said.
The department has also recently rationalized the postings of Medical Officers and Consultants in the health institutions located in the peripheral areas of the State with the posting of 97 newly recruited Medical Officers to further improve the health care in the rural areas. Besides, 371 posts of Medical Officers (Allopathic) and 87 posts of Medical Officers (ISM) have been created.
In order to strengthen the health infrastructure, a provision of Rs 545.54 crore has been earmarked under Prime Minister’s Development Package under an allocation of Rs. 900 crore and an amount of Rs 206.07 crore has been released during the current financial year for execution of various projects.
The Minister said for the benefits of the Cancer patients, two State level Cancer Institutes are being set up at cost of Rs 120 crore each. These Tertiary Centers will be set up in SKIMS Soura, Srinagar and GMC, Jammu. The similar cancer care facilities at District level are also being established, said the Minister.
Listing some important achievements registered by the department, the Minister said that under Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakaram (RBSK), 926 cchildren in the age group of 0-18 years who needed surgical interventions referred to secondary/tertiary level institutions including PGIMER, Chandigarh for free Management and treatment and an amount of Rs 648.89 lakh has been released for their treatment, said the Minister.
Referring to some media reports on the procurement of medicines and functioning of J&K Medical Supplies Corporation Ltd (JKMSCL), the Minister said the Government has strengthen this vital institution which has the sole mandate of procuring the quality medicines and diagnostic equipments for the Government hospitals in a systematic manner. The Corporation has managed to cater 80 per cent needs of the institutions. The medicines are supplied after proper testing in the reputed laboratories of the country.
In a patient friendly initiative, the Government has already rolled out free drug policy in all district hospitals, Primary Health Centers, Sub-Centers and majority of life saving drugs are being ensured.
In another revolutionary and reformative initiative, the Government has introduced a mechanism of auditing medical prescriptions of patients in government hospitals on regular basis. The move is aimed at to break the nexus between doctors and drugs companies who were promoting the drugs of some particular companies and unnecessary burdening the poor patients, said the Minister.
On the issue of mushroom growth of unauthorized clinics/medical centers in the State, the Minister said that the Government has taken serious cognizance of activities of such unlawful establishments and directed both the Directors health services to initiate action on these.
Earlier, Several members took part in the discussion on working of Health and Medical Education Department.
Dr Bashir Ahmad Veeri appreciated the performance of health department including drivers, paramedical staff, doctors who worked tirelessly in transporting the patients during unrest in Kashmir valley. He demanded for strengthening of all PHCs for minimizing stress on tertiary health institutions.
Surinder Kumar Choudhary called for proper checking of drugs supplied to various Government hospitals in the state especially in Rajouri and Poonch districts. He also demanded upgradation of medical infrastructure including medical dispensaries and PHCs in border areas besides organizing awareness camps of health related schemes in far-flung areas.
Ghulam Nabi Monga urged for filling up vacant posts of medical and paramedical staff at block and district levels and demanded for providing staff, infrastructure and machinery at Sub District Hospital Uri.
Sajad Ahmad Kichloo urged for air lifting facilities to the patients of snow bound areas and demanded recruitment of doctors to make doctor patient ratio more favorable.
Sofi Yousuf appreciated the role of doctors, paramedical staff, drivers and all other employees who worked round the clock during Kashmir unrest and urged for awarding their exceptional services during the period. He demanded for enhancing financial incentives in favor of NHM employees and also highlighted the issue related to health sector in Pahalgam.
Jugal Kishore Sharma demanded for early establishment of mother-child hospital in Reasi and expediting the land identification process for Cancer institute. He further urged for sensitizing the doctors on welfare schemes for BPLs.
Charanjeet Singh called for measures for formulation of policy to regulate rural postings of medical experts.
Qaiser Jamsheed Lone called for running PHCs, CHCs, district hospital at their full capacities for de-burdening of tertiary health centers and demanded for establishing AYUSH centre at SKIMS Soura.
Yasir Reshi asked for identifying minimum living wage to be paid under Hospital Development Fund (HDF) to check the mismanagement of funds therein.
Mohammad Muzaffar Parray said the super specialty hospital in Jammu should be made capable to undertake highly specialized surgeries in the state by using latest technology and methods.
Saif-ud-Din Bhat called for checking of irregularities in Hospital Development fund besides generating awareness about health schemes in rural areas.
Firdous Tak demanded appointment of nodal officers in medical institutes for facilitating delivery of medical services. He urged for creation of infrastructure along with capacity building and proper training of health care employees to equip them with health related latest practices, procedures and technologies.