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 thisfacility at the doorstep of the people.
Winding up the special 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.
To overcome the shortage of doctors and para-medics in various health institutions across the State, 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 to give further fillip to the health sector, said the Minister.
Lauding the role of the Department during the last year unrest in Kashmir Valley, the Minister said every functionary from doctor to para-medics and field staff discharged their efficient duties despite many hardships.
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.
To augment the functioning of the Drugs & Food Control Organization, the Minister said the Department has been directed to undertake special drives to check the menace of adulterated food items and medicines in the market. The steps have also been initiated to strengthen two Food Testing Laboratories one each at Jammu and Srinagar for which an amount of Rs 6 crore has been released.
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 is still at infancy, but it 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, however, after noticing any discrepancy on the part of the suppliers, stern action warranted under rules is initiated. To curb the pilferage of government medicines, the authorities have put in place a new mechanism and all government supplies will have the particular color coding "Sine Blue" which would distinguish as Government supply.
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. Besides, the Government is also contemplating to provide free diagnostic facilities to the patients in these institutions.
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.
The Minister expressed gratitude to the Members for their valuable suggestions to further improve the functioning of the department and assured that he will take appropriate steps towards these. He urged the Members to approach him with more related inputs.
Earlier, 12 Members took part in the detailed discussion on the functioning of the health department and highlighted some gray areas and put forth their suggestions to plug the gaps. The Members lauded the efforts of the department for introducing various reforms for the patients in the state.