The unfortunate death of a mother after giving birth to her newborn and the painful image that a child would not be seeing his mother alive is unbearable. These are many instances that we often read and encounter not only in the villages but even in the city. From the untimely death of nurses during Covid-19, to a negligent health administration and absence of clear cut strategies to clear the mess up once and for all in the State health department.
An important point to make in this column is the free handing of Primary Health Centres (PHCs) and Community Health Centres (CHCs) to Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) which happened during the previous regime and which is continuing up to this day. Some of these NGOs are from outside and also from the State and were given contracts to run these rural health centres as the State health department felt it was a “huge” expenditure to manage by the government.
An RTI was filed by this writer in late 2016 on the PPP model and it was revealed that a bank deposit of Rs 5 lakhs was the initial payment for securing the contract and on selection a bank guarantee of Rs 50 lakhs was a must to conclude the agreement.
As most of the NGOs at that time were from outside the state while few were from here, what is perplexing is the salary that the emoluments that they paid their staffs was different from what was given in the TOR (Terms of Reference) at that point of time. Ironically many had to go without salary at times due to delay.
An NGO by the name Citizens Foundation was given to run PHCs in the State and ironically it was blacklisted. However, the same NGO bagged an ADB contract on skill training from MSSDS and even in the midst of its under performance, no action was taken by those in authority.
Many of our local youth, qualified and experienced in medical and health science, are without jobs, some of whom are outside the State. Why then is the health department not taking back those PHCs and CHCs and running it thereby allowing many to get employment? Is it the same old phrase “no money to run”?
This shows that the health policy of the State is in need of a major overhaul. Even the recruitment process is either backdoor or not taken with utmost seriousness to augment manpower. Therefore, these hypocrites should stop shedding crocodile tears, and should rather come out of their shells with actionable strategies for meeting future medical needs.
Dominic Stadlin Wankhar
Shillong – 3