Data belies NITI Aayog’s claims on ‘improvised’ health care index in JK 

Srinagar: The data used by the NITI Aayog’s report to paint a triumphant picture of the health sector in the state of Jammu and Kashmir is proving out to be ‘misrepresenting’ various facts.

When compared with the data that has been provided by the Union Ministry of Health on the status of healthcare in the state, a different story altogether comes to the fore.

NITI Aayog’s report, where it portrays improvement in the required manpower in the state healthcare at the primary level, including Public Health Centres (PHCs), Community Health Centres (CHCs) and Sub-Centres (SCs), has marked almost all the categories like :  Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANMs), vacancy of Staff Nurses (SNs) at PHCs and CHCs, Vacancy of Medical Officers (MOs) at PHCs as ‘improved.’

However, on the contrary the report on Rural Healthcare, compiled by the Union Ministry on Health, states that in terms of ANMs, the state healthcare is having a surplus manpower, which as per experts, cannot be termed as an ‘improved’ scenario.

The report published by NITI Aayog has only taken into consideration the decrease in number of vacancies, and has taken it as a parameter to determine the betterment of healthcare—which it states was more than 17 percent in the year 2014-15 and which came down to 10 percent in the year 2015-16. However, it takes no cue of the enormous surplus manpower that is working in the peripheries.

As per the report from Union Ministry for Health, in 2005, the required number of required ANMs at PHCs and SCs was 2213, and during that time the sanctioned posts were 1964 and 1588 were in position, creating a shortfall of 625 ANMs, with almost 376 such posts lying vacant then.

In 2016, as per the same report, the situation changed drastically, the requirement of ANMs swelled up to 3442 and the number of sanctioned posts defied logic, as the number came out to be more than what was required- 4600.

The number of ANMs in position was more than what was required- 4369, thus creating a surplus of 927 ANMs in the peripheries, which the NITI Aayog’s report did not take into consideration, said an official.

“Same seems to be the case in terms of Staff Nurses at PHCs and CHCs. The Aayog’s report, there as well, has focused on the decreased number of vacancies, and has missed the point of surplus-affecting the state exchequer,” he added.

The required number of Staff Nurses at PHCs and CHCs in the year 2015 was 824 but out of the sanctioned number of 244, only 68 were in position, creating a shortfall of 756. The situation changed drastically in 2016, when the requirement swelled up to 1225 and the sanctioned posts were once again more than required (1410 and in position were 1391 creating a surplus of 166 ANMs).

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