Dr Amandeep Garg, Special Secretary Health, Mission Director, National Rural Health Mission, Himachal Pradesh, thinks his state has fair amount of success in making healthcare reachable to all. In conversation with Sharmila Das, Elets News Network (ENN)
Tell us about your vision for the state’s health department. Tell us about your mandate.
State has started e-Health initiatives by integrating various applications and replacing standalones with web based online applications. Our department is playing a pivotal role in basic healthcare delivery systems. We are trying to adopt a synergistic approach by creating comprehensive plans of action in the aspects of nutrition, sanitation, hygiene and safe drinking water. The plan of action includes increasing public expenditure on health, reducing regional imbalance in health infrastructure, pooling resources, integration of organisational structures, optimisation of health manpower, decentralisation and district management of health programmes, community participation and ownership of assets, induction of management and financial personnel into district health system, and operationalisation of community healthcentres into functional hospitals meeting Indian Public Health Standards in each block of the state.
According to you what are the main healthcare projects of the state that have been immensely successful and have the potential to be replicated?
The State Government of Himachal Pradesh has launched several successful projects. The following are worth mentioning:
• Health Management Information System.
• Personnel Management Information System
• Hospital Management Information System
• Mobile based Facility Reporting The above projects can be replicated as per requirements.
What are the main challenges that you face in developing healthcare in the state? What are the solutions for these challenges?
We face challenges in mapping different health problems due to difficult geographic terrain. Lack of skilled man power resources is also a constraint. In many places, especially in the rural areas, there are also issues regarding internet connectivity and bandwidth.
The solutions can be V-Sat Connectivity with good bandwidth, hiring / outsourcing of skilled man power, conducting training to increase the number of skilled man power in healthcare.
What is your opinion of the medical training that is available in the state?
Presently there are two government medical colleges in the state and one ESI medical college is being established in the state. Many more medical colleges are being opened in association with private sector participation. There are two training centres for the training of staff where regular trainings are being conducted as per the needs.
At times the government hospitals are unable to retain talented healthcare specialists. What steps should be taken to ensure that the government owned healthcare centres, especially in rural areas, are fully manned?
To ensure adequate man power in healthcare, the respective departments should have better Human Resource policies. Also we can invite specialists from other states and provide special incentives facilities to encourage people to serve in rural areas. Third solution could be increase of PG seats in medical colleges.
How do you propose to bring down the Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) and Infant Mortality Rate (IMR)?
We can bring down the MMR and IMR, by better ANC /PNC services, and better immunisation services.
The initiatives being taken by National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), Himachal Pradesh include:
• Establishment of RKSs to provide more autonomy to health institutions for improvement of infrastructure.
• Increase ANC Coverage by mobilising HWs to rural areas
• Anaemia free Himachal Campaign
• Beti Anmol Hai
• Campaign for Tobacco Free Himachal
• Free Institutional Deliveries
• Free treatment for children up to one year.
• JSY Benefit to ST/SC /BPL Families RSBY benefit to SC/ST/BPL and others
We also intend to promote institutional deliveries by JSY benefit, free institutional deliveries, free medicines, drop back and diagnostics