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August 12, 2011

Chief Minister releases action plan for health sector

Chief Minister releases action plan for health sector

Kolkata, August 12: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee unveiled the state's vision for healthcare improvement from 2011 to 2015. Ms. Banerjee who holds the health portfolio has been keenly observing the functioning of the health organization ever since she took over as Chief Minister of the state. It may not be out of context to recall the surprise visits to various hospitals initiated by her immediately after coming to power and taking action against the errant officials. The said action plan is a reflection of her in depth study of the health situation in the state.

On Thursday she visited Swasthya Bhawan and had detailed discussions on various issues with the officials. She expressed concern on the deteriorating condition of the medical collages and stressed on improving infrastructure and providing manpower. She discussed the issue of disproportionate crowd of some hospitals while others go empty and suggested that the smaller hospitals should be tied up with bigger hospitals and come under one administration in the new plan. Her concern reflects discrepancy in the patient load between Sambhunath Pandit Hospital and SSKM. Merging the two under the same administration will facilitate rational distribution of patients and ease pressure on SSKM.

The Chief Minister after a detailed study of the prevailing situation has come up with an action plan for the health sector. There are proposals to increase the number of diagnostic and pathology laboratories across West Bengal under the said plan. A two-member team will be constituted which will monitor each hospital's OPD. Hospital heads will have to send SMS to them at Swasthya Bhawan informing what time they opened the OPD and the number of patients they have attended. She also spoke on the draft transfer policy of doctors, which will give doctors the option of getting posted in their native block.

Seven new health districts are to come up in Asansol, Contai, Basirhat and Jangipur in particular. The sub-divisional and block hospitals will be upgraded with better infrastructure. Kalyani will have a specialty hospital on the lines of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). Apart from that there are plans to build 10 new medical colleges, some of which may be planned on the PPP model. Jangalmahal will get a booster dose worth Rs 83 crore to develop healthcare facilities.

The action plan will also look into areas like increasing routine immunization coverage, decreasing infant and maternal mortality rate, reducing the burden of communicable diseases, mainstreaming of AYUSH and integrating it the AIDS control programme.