Unhealthy health department: Infrastructure ‘doubles’ but manpower faces a slide

Srinagar: The State’s Health department has been busy with the expansion of infrastructural base with full force, with much of the revenue, especially in case of Sub Centres, being spent on rent, as more than 60 per cent Sub Centres are functioning from rented buildings.

As per the comprehensive 2016-17 document on Rural Healthcare in India provided by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Govt of India, there has been a mushrooming of infrastructure in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, with 49 per cent addition in case of Sub Centres from last 11 eleven years, and 90 per cent increase in Primary Health Centres (PHCs).

The figures reveal that as on March 2015 there were 2265 Sub Centres functioning in the state, out of which only 924 buildings were functioning from government owned buildings. However, as on March 2016 the number of Sub Centres functioning in the state rose to 2805 and the number of Sub Centres functioning in government buildings remained the same- 924.

The number of PHCs however, remained the same. As on March 2015, the data points out, there were 637 PHCs and only 486 were functioning from the government buildings. The number for functional PHCs and those of running from government buildings remained the same, as on March 2017.

Pertinently, the total requirement of 327, and what has been created in the state and the is almost the double than what is required.

Notably, the availability of manpower at such facilities after a comparative analysis between March 2015 and March 2016 reveals a different story altogether.

The number of Radiographers at Community Health Centres, as per figures, as on March 2015, was 239, which drastically came down to 198 as on March 2016. Similarly, in case of number of Pharmacists at PHCs and CHCs was 872 as on March 2015, which came down to 738 as on March 2017, reveals the data provided by GOI.

The number of Lab Technicians at PHCs and CHCs also underwent the same treatment. In March 2015 the number of Lab Technicians was 763 and it was 734 in March 2016.

However, what witnessed an increase was the nursing staff. The staff personnel as per the data was 1183 as on March 2015 which rose to 1391 as on March 2016. ANM, workers were 4362 in 2015 and their number rose to 4369 in 2016, while as the number of Doctors at PHCs was 834 in 2015 which went down to 761 in 2016.

Apart from nursing staff, which witnessed an increase, the number of specialists, in one year also witnessed an upward trend. The numbers, as per data were, 167 Specialists in 2015 at CHCs and it rose to 190 in 2016.

Pertinent to mention, there was an increase of 540 Sub Centres in the state alone in one year from March 2015 to March 2016. The numbers were- 2265 in 2015 and 2805 in 2016 respectively.

As reported earlier by this newspaper, the data on the strength of infrastructure present in the state’s peripheries from the year 2005 till 2016 reveals that there has been a considerable increase in the infrastructure in peripheries, with less importance given to the incorporation of manpower at such facilities.

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