Heath care services in Odisha in a shambles: CAG

Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Aug 11:

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has slammed the Odisha government for the dismal state of health care services in the state.

Picture Courtesy: thesundayindian.com
Picture Courtesy: thesundayindian.com

The general and social audit report of the CAG has stated that the state lacks adequate health care centres, infrastructure in existing health centres and acute shortage of doctors in these centres.

According to the norms fixed by the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), there should be one subsidiary health centre (SHC) or a sub-health centre for a population of 5000, a primary health centre (PHC) for a population of 30,000, a community health centre (CHC) for a population of 1.20 lakh in non-tribal areas, the CAG report pointed out. In tribal dominated areas, there should be a SHC for a population of 3000, PHC for a population of 20,000 and CHC for a population of 80,000, it said.

Going by the 2011 Census report, the state should have 11,967 health centres in the state. However, at present, there are only 8291 health centres in the state, which include 377 CHCs, 1226 PHCs and 6688 SHCs which is 31 percent less than the required norms, the reports said.

The report also said that most of these health centres do not have their own building and are running in the panchayat offices and private houses.

The CAG, while reviewing the health care facilities in eight district headquarters hospitals, has found that most of the medical equipment in these hospitals are defunct.

Out of a total of 24 CHCs in these districts, some have no ECG or X-Ray machines while others have the machines which are in a defunct state.

The audit revealed that 71 medical equipment costing Rs 2.20 crore in six district headquarters hospitals have been lying defunct  for a long time.

Besides, the audit also revealed that medical equipment worth Rs 20 lakh purchased for the paediatric ward are lying unused as special care units where these equipment were to be installed were yet to be constructed.

A building of the blood bank at the Papadahandi hospital had been converted to a godown as it could not function, the report has stated.

The report said there should be 10,594 doctors in the state as per the stipulated norms under Indian Public Health Standards. However, there are only 3,435 doctors out of a total of 5077 posts of doctors approved by the state government, which is only one-third of the required number of doctors.

The report also stated that 9, 000 of the 20,000 posts of health workers are presently lying vacant.

Besides, there is not a single doctor, nurse, lab technician and radiographer in any of the hospitals in the remote and inaccessible areas in the state, it added.

There have been demands from various quarters in Odisha that the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), which had sought an action taken report (ATR) from the Union Health secretary on the acute shortage of doctors in major hospitals in New Delhi terming this as a violation of Human Rights, should take a similar step against Odisha in view of the dismal situation in the state health sector as pointed out by the CAG in its report.

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