‘Drastically Wrong’ Management In Health Facilities— NSHRC Chairperson - Eastern Mirror
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Nagaland

‘Drastically wrong’ management in health facilities— NSHRC chairperson

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By Reyivolü Rhakho Updated: Mar 06, 2024 12:19 am
NSHRC
NSHRC team along with others during health centres visitation in Kohima district on Tuesday. (EM image)

KOHIMA — Nagaland State Human Rights Commission (NSHRC) chairperson, Justice Songkhupchung Serto noted that there is something ‘drastically wrong’ with the management in public health facilities of the state.

He said this during the commission’s visit to health facilities including the Viswema Community Health Centre (CHC), Kezocha CHC, and Integrated Ayush Hospital, Razha Chedema, on Tuesday.

During the visits, NSHRC chairperson, Justice Songkhupchung Serto said that the purpose was to see that human rights in Nagaland are promoted and protected. “Health is wealth and it is the most important thing about life. Everyone concerned should see to it that health facilities are provided and maximum efforts should be made to provide best health service,” he added.

He was accompanied by NSHRC member R Nzanbemo Lotha, and representatives from the office of the Chief Medical Officer, Kohima.

Viswema CHC

At the Viswema CHC, staff led by SMO Dr. Adi T Belho disclosed that the centre does not get enough stock of medicines including essentials like gloves, gauze, and antiseptics. Even when the medicines arrive, most of them are nearing expiry dates and the medicines supplied by the CMO office are insufficient as well as irregular.

A total of INR 50,000 as untied funds for 2023 – 2024 has been received but there is no separate fund for medicines, the staff informed.

In response, a representative from the CMO office stated that the office dispatches whatever is received from the Directorate.

The Viswema CHC has a laboratory which has the capacity to conduct tests for haemoglobin, blood group, strep-typhus, HIV, malaria, hepatitis, liver and kidney function tests, and typhoid. However, reagents are not provided by the government and it cannot test urine acid, KFT, and LFT.

The equipments were reportedly brought during Nagaland Health Project (NHP) funded by the World Bank but now, with the conclusion of the programme, the centre does not have access to reagents. The CHC also has an X-ray (general cases) technician but no machine.

It was informed that most of the staff were appointed under the NHP, and their salaries are not only low but also irregular. Similarly, Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) in the CHC have not been paid for several months.

While observing that the hospitals are well maintained, the salaries of health workers under the National Health Mission and National AYUSH Mission would be difficult for the employees to maintain themselves, Justice Serto said.

One expects good service from them, so they should also be paid well, he said.

Kezocha CHC

An acute shortage of health workers was observed at the Kezocha CHC which is functioning without a doctor, a medical officer, lab technicians, or a pharmacist. There is also a shortage of nurses at the centre.

The CHC was reportedly upgraded to a Primary Health Centre (PHC) in 2021, and is currently being manned by one GNM nurse, two ANM nurses, one lady health visitor, an ASHA worker and other support staff.

Five staff members including a pharmacist, a lab technician, two nurses and a male attendant had retired last year but no replacement or new appointments have been made, while another nurse is set to retire this year. The only doctor posted at the health centre is on study leave since March 2023, it was informed.

Besides staff shortage, the health centre does not have water connection and is making use of rainwater harvesting and spring water, which becomes difficult during the dry seasons.

Additionally, the centre which covers five sub-centres including Kidima, Kezo Town, Sakhabama, Dihoma and Kijumetouma, with a population of at least 5300, does not receive adequate medicines, nor does it have a sterilisation room.

The staff explained that mostly cases of fever, diarrhoea, child delivery, malaria and common cold are received at the centre and severe cases are referred to other CHCs or the Naga Hospital Authority, Kohima, after providing first aid.

Right to health being denied

A representative from the CMO office apprised that at least four PHCs in Kohima district are without doctors as the ones posted there are on study leave. The leaves are granted by the government through the directorate, the official said, adding that the concerned district is not consulted before granting of leaves.

In this connection, the NSHRC chairperson noted that there is something ‘drastically wrong’ with the management.

“You cannot ask people not to get sick,” he asserted, adding that 5300 people are being denied their right to health.

Serto also said that CHCs should have all the facilities including the testing of tuberculosis.

The team also visited the Integrated Ayush Hospital Razha, Chedema, which falls under Northern Angami area where the staff raised issues including shortage residential quarters for medical officers (MOs).

It was informed that since all the MOs could not be accommodated in the two quarters (one each for male and female); they are putting up in the hospital itself.  

The staff at this centre are under the National AYUSH Mission, and their salaries are better than the NHM staff. But when compared with NHM staff from other states, Nagaland is less, they added.

It was learnt that the majority of AYUSH doctors and staff members in Nagaland reportedly do not have sanctioned posts, with only four exceptions. In response to this, the chairperson suggested that the government should formulate a policy and create posts accordingly.

It may be mentioned that the state government had notified the establishment of NSHRC in 2016. However, the commission came into effect only in March last year with the appointment of the chairperson, followed by appointment of two members in July last year.

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By Reyivolü Rhakho Updated: Mar 06, 2024 12:19:44 am
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