State of 2011 health care in Odisha far from rosy

December 27, 2011 at 8:23 am Leave a comment

Following is a report from TOI:

BHUBANESWAR: Patient care going for a toss due to prolonged strike of junior doctors across all government medical colleges sums up the situation of healthcare in the state this year even as the government announced a number of new initiatives.

Around 800 house surgeons and PG students, the backbone of healthcare services for both indoor and outdoor patients in the three medical colleges, went for tool down, demanding “proper security to them during duty”. Several surgeries had to be postponed and emergency care was affected in the three apex institutions.

Junior doctors in Burla stopped work on September 5 following alleged attacks on them a day earlier on September 4. After the state announced a sine die closure of the college on September 7, the medics reassembled for an indefinite stir in the state capital on September 9. Their counterparts in Cuttack and Berhampur joined them on September 15 and 16 respectively, expressing solidarity with their demands of security, arrest of alleged main culprit Sisir Dandia and withdrawal of “false” charges against the demonstrators. Several rounds of talks with the government failed to bring back the medicos to their work and classes. Despite hectic parleys with the government, the strike went on till September 24. The Orissa high court had to intervene to end the stalemate ultimately. The HC asked the government to improve security on the campus and remove encroachments inside the Burla hospital campus.

Meanwhile, despite tall posturing by the government to have taken initiatives for several new medical college proposals, nothing concrete materialized during the year, either in private or in the government sector.

While the year saw no progress in the 2004 proposal of Western Orissa Development Council to set up a medical college in Balangir, Sahyog Healthcare and Research Foundation (SHRF) of India is yet to acquire land for its proposed college in Keonjhar. The SHRF a few days ago got some New York-based venture capitalists to invest $100 million in the project for a period of five years though.

Besides, the fate of Employees’ State Insurance Corporation’s proposed medical college at Bhubaneswar still hangs in balance with nothing more than a boundary coming up at the proposed site, government sources said. ESIC had proposed in 2008 to set up a medical college in Odisha. The state government had allotted 25 acres of land in the city for the Rs 800-crore project in 2009.

The planning and coordination department of the state government had sanctioned Rs 10 crore each for medical colleges in Rourkela, Jaring (Kalahandi district) and Balangir in public-private partnership. The government provided 25 acres of land each to these proposed colleges, being facilitated by WODC. Though the colleges in Rourkela and Jaring are in advanced stages of completion, uncertainty still prevails about their likely date of commissioning.

Similarly, the government also failed to initiate a kidney transplant facility at SCB Medical College and Hospital, Cuttack, this year. It has now set a target of early 2012 to launch the programme.

The state government can, however, boast of at least four major initiatives such as launching the Centre-funded Janani O Sishu Suraksha Karyakram (JSSK), Mamata scheme for pregnant women and commissioning of the e-blood bank service this year. “It has been one of those happening years in health. Initiatives such as JSSK and Mamata were launched for pregnancy and neonatal care. We also started Dots Plus for TB patients,” said Dr Upendra Kumar Sahoo, director of health services.

Under the JSSK, the government promises to bear all expenditure related to delivery and newborn care. The free entitlements under the programme of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) include free and cashless delivery, free Caesarean Section, free treatment of sick newborns up to 30 days, exemption from user charges, free drugs and consumables, free diagnostics, free diet during stay in the health institutions (three days in case of normal delivery and seven days in case of C-section), free provision of blood, free transport from home to health institutions, free transport between facilities in case of referral as also drop back from institutions to home after 48 hours stay. “It would go a long way to reduce neonatal and maternity deaths,” the DHS said.

The state launched Mamata scheme in July, under which the government promises to give Rs 5,000 to pregnant women in villages. An estimated seven lakh pregnant women and newborn babies in rural areas would benefit from the scheme every year. As per the scheme, aid would be given to each pregnant woman in four installments. First Rs 1,500 would be paid after six months of pregnancy with registration and vaccination in an anganwadi centre. The second Rs 1,500 would be given when the newborn is three months old. The third and fourth installments of Rs 1,000 each would be paid when the newborn is six and nine months old respectively.

Critics dismiss both Mamata and JSSK, however, as pre-poll sops ahead of panchayat elections in the state in February.

Among the most commendable initiatives in the year passing by was the e-blood bank initiative. Earlier this month, the government started bar-coding of blood bags to ensure blood collected first is used first in 100% cases. The web-enabled system facilitates electronic monitoring of blood collection, testing, storage and final use or disposal. Timings of all these steps can now be known from anywhere in the blood bank network.

The electronic screening can detect professional donors as all blood banks are interlinked to eliminate professional donation, which is still around three to four per cent. “It is for the first time in the country that such an initiative was launched in blood safety,” said Mangala Prasad Mohanty, honorary secretary of Odisha branch of the Indian Red Cross Society.

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Entry filed under: Balangir, Balangir Medical College (WODC), Balangir-Titilagarh-Patanagarh, Bhawanipatna-Dharmagarh, Developmental schemes for districts, Health Care Facility, Higher Education Zone, Kalahandi, Region watch, Rourkela Medical College (WODC), Sambalpur, Sambalpur-Rairakhol-Kuchinda, Sardar Raja Medical College (WODC), Kalahandi, Sundargarh-Rourkela-Panposh-Bonai, Sundergarh, VSS Medical College, Western Odisha development council.

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