Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed ordered setting up of pilot ‘Model Peripheral Hospitals’ in all districts of the state which would help in upgrading healthcare infrastructure in remote areas to ensure better public delivery. “A well defined healthcare system has to be in place to cater to the needs of people in villages, towns and cities. The availability of doctors and paramedical staff in hospitals is as important as modernisation of health centres”, Sayeed said chairing a high level review meeting of the Health and Medical Department in Srinagar.
Stressing upon optimal utilisation of existing infrastructure to save costs on civil construction, Sayeed said the prime objective should be to convert community health centres (CHCs) and primary health centres (PHCs) into Model Hospitals with main focus on providing maternity and childcare services at the primary level. “The government will approach Centre for funding, once the pilot projects are up and running”, he said, while insisting upon making healthcare accessible, affordable and qualitative.
In order to reduce referrals and decentralise emergency and casualty management system, the Chief Minister also issued directions for upgrading three district hospitals in each division by providing additional manpower, particularly in gynaecology and obstetrics, anaesthesia, paediatrics, orthopaedics, general surgery, medicine and radiology. He asked the Health Department to work out the financial implications and prepare a comprehensive proposal for funding by the Finance Department.
Under the Model Hospital Plan, the government envisages augmentation of manpower in peripheral healthcare centres by adding five consultants and three medical officers. Referring to the setting up of a new paediatric hospital in Srinagar, Sayeed directed that, till such time an independent paediatric hospital is established in close proximity of Lal Ded Maternity Hospital, the government will construct two floors, dedicated entirely to paediatric care, at under-construction maternity hospital at Bemina.
On the issue of requirement of trained paramedic staff in state hospitals, the Chief Minister highlighted the need to establish new nursing colleges, as per norms fixed by the Nursing Council of India. He directed the Vice Chancellors of Jammu and Kashmir Universities to establish nursing colleges in their respective satellite campuses by utilising their already available infrastructure, keeping in view the rising demand for skilled workforce in the health sector. The chief minister said nursing colleges should also be established at the capital cities of Jammu and Srinagar to meet the growing requirement of paramedical staff.
Expressing serious concern over the challenge posed by rising drug abuse among youth, Sayeed asked the Commissioner Secretary, Health Department, to set-up counselling centres at all district hospitals in the state. “It is primarily the responsibility of the Health Department to address the menace of drug abuse, which has a huge social stigma attached to it”, he said. Taking a feedback on the status of establishing five new medical colleges in the state, Sayeed asked the Chief Secretary to expedite transfer of land to the Health Department so that the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry could be approached for funding.
The Chief Minister was informed that Rs 189 crore will be spent on construction of newly-sanctioned medical colleges at Baramulla, Anantnag, Doda, Kathua and Rajouri. He was also briefed about the creation of a corpus fund of Rs 1 crore each in Jammu and Srinagar to make financial assistance available to patients suffering from terminal diseases.
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