The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has pulled up Meghalaya Chief Minister MUkul Sangma for failing to convene even a single meeting of the State Health Mission (SHM) since 2011 and has reprimanded the governemnt for not giving “adequate priority” to the health sector.
The SHM is to provide health system oversight, consider policy matters related to health sector and review progress in implementation of the centrally sponsored National Rural Health Mission scheme.
Lack of adequate priority has resulted in shortage of over 300 health centres in villages, besides shortfall of specialist doctors, nurses and staff, the CAG report filed in the just concluded session of the state assembly, said.
The CAG recommended to the state government to establish new primary health centres (PHCs) and sub-health centres (SCs)as per norms and provision of essential medical and paramedical staff in the health facilities.
In its report tabled in the just concluded Assembly session for the year ending March 31, 2016, the CAG said the shortage of medical specialists was a “serious impediment” in the proper delivery of healthcare services in the state.
The report also pointed out that the state government had failed to set up district hospitals in the four newly created districts apart from over 40 per cent shortfall of sub-centres in the state.
Stating that there was a shortfall of 328 sub-centres (SCs) in the state, the CAG said, “The shortage of DHs (District health Centres) and SCs was one of the factors responsible for shortfall in achievement of targets such as institutional deliveries, antenatal care.”
It also pointed out the necessity to have more SCs in the state was also observed in the beneficiary survey as 74 per cent of the 354 women surveyed stated that they visited SCs/Anganwadi centres for their ANC services.
The CAG also revealed the sorry state of affairs in the existing district hospitals as there were shortages of 56 per cent specialist doctors and nearly 20 per cent staff nurses.
Taking the Indian Public Health Standard (IPHS) norms into consideration, the CAG said that there was shortfall of 51 specialist doctors, 17 general doctors, 57 staff nurses and 95 paramedical staff in all.
It however, noted that there was an excess appointment of 17 general doctors and paramedical staffs.
In the case of the 27 Community Health Centres, there were shortages of 42pc, 48pc and 23pc in the posts of specialist doctors, general doctors and staff nurses respectively.
The CAG also noted that there was irrational deployment of doctors in the Primary Health Centres as some of these had two doctors while some did not even have a single doctor.
As a result, the average of deliveries during 2015-16 in four PHCs with two doctors each was 102 while two PHCs without a doctor was only 33, the report stated.
The CAG has also criticized the non-utilization of operation theatres (OTs) at Nongstoin district hospital in West Khasi Hills district and Nongpoh district hospital in Ri -Bhoi district whereas some CHCs do not even have the basic infrastructure facilities such as blood bank facility, water supply and others.