Meghalaya HC to hear deficiencies in health services


SHILLONG, Feb 8: The Meghalaya High Court on Tuesday will take up the issue of deficiencies in health services in the state.

It may be mentioned during the last hearing the Meghalaya High Court issued notices to the health authorities of the Centre and the state over the ‘pathetic’ health-care scerio provided by the hospitals here including the North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regiol Institute of Health and Medical Sciences (NEIGRIHMS).

The High Court asked the respondents to show cause as to why rule should not be issued or any other order or orders should not be passed as found deemed fit and proper, since this petition has been taken up suo motu.

The High Court also appointed senior counsels TT Diengdoh and A Sinha, as Amicus Curiae to assist the court.

The Meghalaya High Court was hearing a letter on the deficiencies in Health Services in the State of Meghalaya.

In the letter to the High Court, four petitioners who are lawyers by profession, stated that NEIGHRIMS (North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regiol Institute of Health and Medical Sciences) has been set up in the State as a pioneer health institution and research centre but most departments do not have any super specialists.

“In many cases patients have to be referred for treatment outside the State. Patients who do not have the resources are left at the mercy of whatever treatment is available in the so called premier institute,” the petitioners said in their letter.

The petitioners also stated that the Civil Hospital in Shillong where most of the rural people are referred to by the Community Health Centres/Primary Health Centres, lack basic facilities in the treatment of most diseases.

“We have read in the newspapers on several occasions that machines are lying idle or are of sub-standard qualities. Medicines which are supposed to be supplied free of cost to the people are rarely available and in fact it was only recently that medicines worth crores of rupees were destroyed as they had presumably expired,” they added in the letter to the Meghalaya High Court. The petitioners also told the Court that the CHCs/PHCs set up by the State Government are even in poorer condition.

The petitioners said that these health centres invariably refer the patients to Shillong even for basic ailments either because there are no competent doctors and due to non-availability of medicines.

“Even the private hospitals in our State do no posses expertise to treat many of the sickness and even if they do, they are too expensive for most of the people,” the petitioners told the Court.

The State is spending crores of rupees every year for treatment of people outside the State but the need for the hour is to provide adequate health care to all within the State,” the petitioners added.

Recently, the Chief Minister, Dr Mukul Sangma said that the State government will articulate all measures taken to improve the health facilities in the State in the affidavit which will be filed by the State government before the High Court of Meghalaya.

The chief minister said he has reviewed both the health scerio and the recent High Court order.

According to Dr Sangma the state government was giving top most priority to the health sector despite manpower constraints and other challenges.

Dr Sangma said that in order to serve the people, the government came out with the Megha Health Insurance Scheme and so far an amount of Rs 15 crore has been reimbursed.

He also pointed out that the government is keen to complete the construction of Reid Chest Hospital at Umsawli which will pave way for the construction of Shillong Medical College and Hospital at Jhalupara.

The Chief Minister added that the government wants to minimise flow of patients to Shillong and district headquarters by providing better health care facilities at the village level.

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