SHILLONG, April 9 - The fact that health centres in Meghalaya are languishing without health workers has been highlighted by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in its report, which was tabled in the just concluded budget session of the State Assembly.
The CAG has pulled up Meghalaya Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma for failing to convene even a single meeting of the State Health Mission (SHM) since 2011, which, it said, has resulted in the pathetic condition of health centres in the villages. The CAG report has also reprimanded the government for not giving �adequate priority� to the health sector resulting in shortage of over 300 health centres in villages, besides shortfall of specialist doctors, nurses and staff.
The CAG recommended the State Government to establish new primary health centres (PHCs) and sub-health centres (SHCs) as per norms and provision of essential medical and paramedical staff in the health facilities.
In its report the CAG said the shortage of medical specialists was a �serious impediment� in the proper delivery of healthcare services in the State and also pointed out that the State Government had failed to set up district hospitals in the four newly created districts apart from over 40 per cent shortfall of sub-centres in the State.
The CAG report attributed the shortfall of 328 sub centres in the State to the shortage of district health centres and sub-health centres. It also held it as one of the factors responsible for shortfall in achievement of targets such as institutional deliveries, antenatal care, etc. The CAG report further reveals the sorry state of affairs in the existing district hospitals as there were shortages of 56 per cent specialist doctors and nearly 20 per cent in case of staff nurses. Going by the Indian Public Health Standard (IPHS) norms, the CAG said that there was shortfall of 51 specialist doctors, 17 general doctors, 57 staff nurses and 95 paramedical staff in all.
In the case of the 27 Community Health Centres, there were shortages of 42 per cent, 48 per cent and 23 per cent in the posts of specialist doctors, general doctors and staff nurses respectively. It, however, noted that there was an excess appointment of 17 general doctors and paramedical staff.
The �irrational� deployment of doctors in PHCs was also noted by the CAG which found out that while some PHCs had two doctors, some did not have even a single doctor. �As a result, the average of deliveries during 2015-16 in four PHCs with two doctors each was 102 while two PHCs without a doctor was only 33,� the report stated.
The non-utilisation of operation theatres at Nongstoin district hospital in West Khasi Hills district and Nongpoh district hospital in Ri-Bhoi district also came under criticism of the CAG which also pointed out that some CHCs do not even have the basic infrastructure facilities such as blood bank, water supply and others.