BY Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, March 3: Health minister zrul Islam today admitted that the State’s health department is not in good health, but at the same time, expressed his ibility to revitalize it, citing the shortage of doctors and idequate Central funding.
In the Assembly today, AGP legislator Phani Bhusan Choudhury took a dig at the Health minister, giving a number of instances which showed the department in poor light.
According to Choudhury, there has been no institutiol delivery at the Bongaigaon Civil Hospital from September last year to January this year. The institutiol deliveries at the 200-bedded government hospital in April last year was 26, in May 35, in June 22, in July 55 and in August 35.
In contrast, there is a heavy rush of patients at private nursing homes, their numbers often much beyond the capacity of the institutions to take care of.
The minister admitted there is a shortage of doctors at the Bongaigaon Civil Hospital, or for that matter in most government hospitals. “When I visited the hospital recently, I found the surgery ward locked,” Islam said.
Phani Bhusan Choudhury pointed out that three of the eight Millennium Development Goals are related to the health sector, and in all the three (reduction of child mortality, improvement of materl health and prevention of HIV/malaria), Assam fares poorly.
The AGP legislator also drew the attention of the minister to the severe crisis of medicines faced by government hospitals in the last few months. “None of the government hospitals in the State fulfill the standard norms of the Indian Public Health Standard,” he said.
The Health minister appeared helpless and clueless in his reply.
According to him, the State will need ten to fifteen years to tackle the situation arising out of shortage of doctors. “We will need 10/15 years to fill the gap (shortage of doctors),” he said.
The medicines, he said, are procured through the tiol Health Mission. “The Central government released the funds in November last year. After that, the tendering process – which takes some time – started, resulting in delay in the procurement of medicines,” the minister informed.