Editorial: Callous health department

Various disturbing news reports about the functioning of various government hospitals in the state are occupying a prime space in various newspapers. These reports are enough to have sounded alarm bells for those who are at the helm of affairs in the health department.
These reports are primarily about the non availability of medicines and other items that are to be made available to the patients in the hospitals functioning in the entire state. Even non availability of live saving drugs like insulin too has raised questions about the functioning of the health department.
To prove our assertions right, even the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti while chairing a meeting of senior Government functionaries of Health and Medical Education Department, last week expressed her dismay over the adverse reports she has received about the functionality of two Super Specialty Hospitals in the State besides the shocking reports of shortage of drugs and other equipments in the Government Medical Colleges and Hospitals.
The health scenario in most parts of the state is alarmingly in need of serious improvement. The Development and expansion of health services is a major agenda of any Government. What has compounded the fears of those concerned with the health department is the non performance of officers in the department.
Five new Medical Colleges are under consideration of the Government. The Chief Minister wants that medical centres in each constituency in the State are upgraded and provided with specialized facilities so that patients are not forced to head towards the premier institutions in the capital cities.
But her assertions has no takers. The PHC Chanapora has been inaugurated thrice during the last two years. Even the government has spend a whooping 20 Cr rupees on upgrading the building, but the status of the PHC is not being upgraded to SDH.
This is sheer failure on the part of the health department as the proposals in this regard have not even been processed by the Directorate of Health.
The purpose to upgrade PHC is to reduce crowding in premier institutes. The Chief Minister touched upon almost all major aspects of health services like improving standard of medical services in Super Speciality Hospitals, availability of teaching faculty, norms of manpower, medical facilities in district hospitals, paramedical staff, Unani and Ayurvedic medicine etc. Concerned about non-satisfactory functioning of two Super Speciality Hospitals she issued instructions that the department should ensure that the respective heads purchase the requisite medicines from the Medical Supplies Corporation well in time and in no case should the delays or shortages be countenanced.
It has emerged from the meeting that some significant projects are being taken up by the Health Department. The functionaries told the Chief Minister that most of the projects undertaken were progressing along dotted lines and these would be brought to completion soon. Observers are taking such statements by the functionaries with many reservations.
The fact of the matter is that the Health and Medical Education Department has to do a great deal if it wants to come up to the expectations of the people or the Chief Minister. It is not enough to say that such and such project is nearing completion or is progressing along the dotted lines.
The top officials need to be monitored and those responsible for promoting red tape and lethargy in the department should be shown the door.

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