Meghalaya Health Minister blames ‘unwilling’ doctors for poor health condition in rural areas
SHILLONG: Health and family welfare minister, AL Hek on Friday came down heavily on some government doctors for their refusal to serve the people residing in the remote corners of the state even as he termed them as 'city-centric doctors', who fail to fulfill their purpose for welfare of the people of the whole state.
Addressing a gathering during the inauguration of the Mawlai Mawroh Public Health Centre (PHC) here at the premises of the PHC at Mawroh on Friday, Hek said that the state at present is faced with the problem of shortage of government doctors, nurses and staffs and observed that adding to this problem, there are some doctors who refused to serve the people residing in the remote villages of the state.
"If we transfer them (doctors) to places like Mawhati or Garo Hills, many of them refused to take charge and resume their duty citing various reasons," Hek said adding that this has affected the health care services in the state.
Referring to a case at Mawhati PHC, Hek informed that as many as three doctors were transferred to this PHC to serve as the Medical Officers but all three of them refused to take charge citing various problems.
"How can we improve the health care services in the rural areas and to cater to dire needs of the poor people it, if the doctors who are said to be chosen by God, are not ready to serve?" Hek questioned.
Suggesting a remedy to this problem, the health minister said that the government is contemplating of outsourcing the PHCs and CHCs in the state to private companies who can cater to the medical requirements of the state.
"We are proposing to enter into the public-private partnership (PPP ) mode with an intention to bridge the gap in the health care services in the state," he said adding that the government has already called for expression of interest wherein as many as 6 companies has come forward.
"Out of these, only one company—Karuna Trust qualified for the said purpose as it fulfills all the clauses laid down by the government," Hek said adding that the government will re-examine the issue to address the problem of shortage of medical staffs in government health care centres in the state.
Meanwhile, Hek also urged all the stakeholders including the village heads, church leaders and medical practitioners to enlighten the people on the benefits of the Meghalaya Health Insurance scheme (MHIS) which was implemented by the state government with a purpose of addressing the usual financial problems faced by the poor families who requires medical assistance.
Interestingly, there have been reports alleging that NEIGRIHMS has stopped accepting the MHIS cards especially in the cardiology department as the institution is yet to recover the money from the state government which has been pending for almost 1 and half years now.
However, while some medical institutions are complaining of non-payment of the due amount by the state government, the upcoming phase 3 of the MHIS intends to increase the coverage from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 3 lakh and this would include MRI diagnostic and other expensive medical equipments under the purview of the MHIS cards.
It was learnt that the foundation stone of the Mawroh PHC was laid way back in 1998 and construction of the same was completed in the year 2005. Ever since, this PHC has started functioning without any formal inauguration. However, after 11 years, this PHC which includes as many as 35 villages in Mawlai and more than 34,000 residents, was inaugurated on Friday by health minister AL Hek in the presence of local MLA Embhah Syiemlieh and local MDC, PT Sawkmie, the MHMO of EKH, director of MCH, representative of the office of the DHS-MI, assistant regional manager of SBI, rangbah shnong of various localities in Mawlai, residents of the locality, students, ASHAs besides others.
Later, the health minister also inaugurated the Umrynjah sub centre which was constructed at a total cost of Rs 15 lakh at a plot of land donated by the Dorbar Shnong.