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Coming State Budget must have devoted funds for public healthcare as per IPHS norms: SPYF

Monday, Feb 17, 2020 12:15 [IST]

Last Update: Monday, Feb 17, 2020 06:48 [IST]

Coming State Budget must have devoted funds for public healthcare as per IPHS norms: SPYF

PANKAJ DHUNGEL
GANGTOK: Sikkim Progressive Youth Forum (SPFY) has questioned the work done by the new SKM government with regards to the development of public healthcare standards of the State. ‘How devoted is the State government with regards to fulfilling the IPHS norms in the hospitals of the State, including the districts and PHCs and PHSCs?’, they questioned.
Addressing the media at Press Club of Sikkim on Sunday, the SPYF members placed a demand for Indian Public Health Standards (IPHS) as per each district hospitals and primary health centres and sub-centres. They came forth with inclination of approaching Health minister MK Sharma with the 10000 signatories who have raised similar concern to IPHS being implemented along with the demand for free medical services and medicine in the State. However, with the State Health minister not being present in the State, they have scheduled to place the memorandum in the coming week.
The SPYF highlighted how they have been pursuing the issue of improving the health standard in the State having placed multiple demands to the former Sikkim Democratic Front government beginning as early as February 2018 and carrying a massive ‘Gangtok Chalo’ movement in 2019 walking from Geyzing in West Sikkim to the State capital here with their demands. They conducted two sets of dharna with the first being on August 2, 2018 while the second being the massive 9-day sit-in at East District Administrative Centre from January 20-29, 2019.
That time, the SKM who was in opposition had extended their support to SPYF and their demands in January, 2019.
“In statement, the SKM has supported the demand for IPHS in State health sector. They supported us during our movement, our current MP Indra Hang Subba to many top SKM leaders being part of the sit-in with us in January, last year. Many of the current ministers are also among the signatories with the demand. The SKM during its foundation day in 2019 had called for a Sikkim Bandh with the current Chief Minister placing 35-point demand. One among those points had included adoption of IPHS norms in Sikkim hospitals and free medicine and services to the people. But, in 9 months of forming the government, no step has been taken by the SKM government,” said the SPYF members.
As per the conclusion of the dharna in January, 2019, the SPYF was assured with a written assurance by former Health minister AK Ghatani to fulfil 90% IPHS norms in 30 days followed by completion of the remaining 10% over the following 3 months. "There have been some changes following the protest, one among them was the addition of a radiologist from Namchi District Hospital who visits twice a week to Geyzing while a surgeon was included who visits every fortnight from Namchi to Geyzing. There have been other additions as well with doctors count increasing and large scale recruitment of nurses and health workers. But there has been no devoted pursuit with regards IPHS norms being welcomed and free services and medicines. Also, with the protest dying out, district hospitals have gone back to the previous standard and are already asking poor patients to pay for syringes and gloves".
They also highlighted how the people of Sikkim are being segmented as ‘beggars seeking charity for medical support’ from people all across the State. "Every day we see people here in MG Marg or along the road sides or visiting our homes with a demand for some money as their patient are in dire need of money for treatment outside the State. There are many helpful hands to the same but that is not where our dependency must be. If the IPHS norms are fulfilled, then such situation will not arise. Even with the change in government, people have to run after ministers and MLAs seeking monetary aid for treatment outside the State,” said the forum.
“The Chief Minister may have announced that all the ministers and top bureaucrats to seek medical treatment in State hospitals but that is not a reality as referrals are still happening in top tier hospitals of the country. The new STNM hospital is being flooded by patients from all the four districts. The same is arising because PHCs and PHSCs do not have the necessary standard so the patients go for minor cases to the district hospitals. District hospitals are working as PHCs and PHSCs while the new STNM is working as district hospital for all 4 districts being overcrowded already,” asserted the forum.
In March, the State will have a Budget session in the State Assembly, so the SPYF has placed a demand for a devoted allocation of funds to the development of the public healthcare sector in the State as per the IPHS norms along with free medical services and medicines. “The issue should not have been raised rather the government should have worked towards it on their own, having placed the same demand on their own before coming to power. It was their responsibility but they are neglecting the same. It has been the corruptive stand of the department that has dented the health standards of the State. There are different norms for different hospitals even in the districts depending on the bed count and the tier structures of district, PHCs, PHSCs,” said the SPYF.
In the coming week they aim to meet the Health minister and place the signed memorandum.

Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi