Jagat Prakash Nadda, the union health ministers who is on tour of the northeast has promised to release funds to the eight sister states, allaying fears that health is given a back seat in the region, mostly governed by the Congress governments.
The meeting held at Assam Administrative Staff College at Guwahati on Saturday with Health Ministers and Secretaries of the eight north eastern states- Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Tripura and Sikkim — reviewed the usage of resources given by the Centre.
Nadda said two key decisions taken at the meeting to bring about desired changes in health indicators- IMR, MMR and TFR. First, Regional Resource Centre Northeast will be developed and secondly, a Joint Secretary from Ministry of Health & Family Welfare will visit North Eastern states once in a month to oversee implementation of programmes and address the bottlenecks.
In a meeting, the minister reviewed the implementation of the National Health Mission and said, “The Prime Minister is giving special attention to ensure the region’s all-round development and I have told the ministers that there would be no dearth of funds.”
The hilly regions of northeast perpetually face little health care program implementation with no roads and hospitals in the vicinity. With no transparency in program implementation, large amount of central funds end up in middlemen and official records are often cooked up to send reports of compliance.
With no infrastructure for community health centres and public health engineering buildings, the Centre has been insisting on submission of utilization certificates on time for releasing funds. Not openly blaming the misuse of funds, the minister said, “It has been seen that the infrastructure set-up here is weak. We need to have a robust and transparent procurement process for ensuring quality and regular supply of important things.”
The minister has decided to strengthen the Regional Resource Centre for northeastern states to make program implementation a reality and help the local state governments. “We are there for support, but, at the same time, the states should work properly. They should come up with innovative methods in dealing with the problems,” said Nadda.
The Union Health Minister appreciated the efforts of Assam in introducing BSC (Community Health) for providing health care services in rural areas. Later, he visited the North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences (NEIGRIHMS), Shillong and addressed the meeting of the Governing Council.