GOI audit observes positive points with a rider
From our Special Correspondent
SILCHAR, June 23: Recognising the importance accorded by the Planning Commission, Government of India, for a district-centric approach to devolution of finances for an integrated local area development, a district level audit in Cachar was carried out to assess the status and impact of implementing various socio-economic activities during 2005-10 and to evaluate whether quality of life of the people has improved. The review covered key social sector programmes relating to health, education and water supply, economic sector related to roads and other infrastructure, employment generation, provision of basic civic amenities and the use of information technology to provide better public services.
The audit, among others, observed many positive points in the social sector related to health and education with the rider that the state and the administration need to focus its attention on certain areas. The process of assessing the health care requirements and gaps in infrastructure as well as man-power as per National Rural Health Mission is yet to be completed in the district. Cachar has one civil hospital, 32 primary health centres and 272 subsidiary health centres against the requirement of 12 civil hospitals, 48 primary health centres and 289 subsidiary health centres. The basic health-care services required to be provided in the health centres were not available at many of the centres visited by the audit team. Moreover, due to non availability of skilled man-power and infrastructure, the purpose of setting up of health-centres was not achieved in the district.
The overall achievement in the district with regard to immunization of children between zero to one year age group covering BCG, DTP and OPV ranged between 71 and 83 per cent during 2005-10. However, the shortfall in achievement of targets in secondary immunization ranged between 10 and 50 per cent. In respect of prevalence of infant and child diseases, 16 cases of diphtheria, 2 cases of tetanus, 153 cases of pertussis , 7134 cases of measles and 274 cases polio were noticed during 2005-10. Separate targets/health indicators for the districts were not prescribed, though as per the Mission (NRHM) guidelines, these were required to be done. Therefore, the progress of achievement of crucial health indicators for the district could not be ascertained and the authenticity of the data reported at the State level could also not be verified. Community participation in planning, implementation and monitoring of the NRHM programme was not ensured. Although all the PHCs, SCs and the CHC had their village health and sanitation committees (VHSCs), Rogi Kalayan Samitis (RKSs) were formed only in 2008-09, and are yet to be made fully operational.
In the absence of proper planning involving identification of gaps in the health-care infrastructure and non-availability of stipulated facilities and skilled man-power in the health institutions, the aim of providing accessible and affordable health-care to people was not achieved in the district. The percentage of institutional deliveries has been increasing over the period of implementation of NRHM, which is encouraging. Further, the district could achieve the goal of leprosy elimination during the last five years.