State health sector in for major overhaul

SRINAGAR: Jammu and Kashmir health sector is likely to go through a major overhaul in infrastructure and human resource management as the state government is pushing for the implementation of its first health policy.

Samaan Lateef

Tribune News Service

Srinagar, April 29

Jammu and Kashmir health sector is likely to go through a major overhaul in infrastructure and human resource management as the state government is pushing for the implementation of its first health policy.

From a three-tier system in the Health and Medical Education (HME) Department to the establishment of a separate medical university for the regulation of medical education, the policy lays emphasis on upgradation of the healthcare at primary as well as at the tertiary level to make it affordable for all.

“Moving towards assurance of free healthcare to patients irrespective of their ability to pay is the cornerstone of the state health policy. The inability of the poor to pay for healthcare decreases their chances of survival and pushes them into poverty,” said Director, Health Services, Kashmir, Saleem-ur-Rehman, who is chairman of the committee constituted for drafting the policy. He said the policy envisaged assurance of quality health services at every hospital to reduce expenditure.

In the three-tier system, the policy calls for trifurcation of the HME Department to create separate Directorate of Primary Care and Public Health to run public health centres, Directorate of Medical Services to run sub-district and district hospitals, and Directorate of Medical Education for medical colleges.

It also envisages creation of J&K Medical Commission for the recruitment and promotion of faculty members of the medical colleges. It also calls for abolishing four-tier faculty in medical colleges and re-organising it as a three-tier system. Apart from welfare schemes, it says there is a need for a regular audit of human resources and appraisal of their performance.

To counter the misuse of antibiotics, the policy calls for treatment management protocol for various infectious diseases.

Advocating a ban on private practice by government doctors, it also calls for the mandatory use of generic drugs to stop corruption and reduce expenditure of patients.

Amid increasing number of cancer cases, the policy envisages day care chemotherapy units in every district hospital with referral linkages to the regional cancer centres.

The policy has recommended starting up of geriatric medicine departments in medical colleges to provide healthcare to the elderly people (above 60) in J&K, who at present constitute 8.3 per cent of the population.

The policy envisages insurance cover for the below poverty line families to be extended to the whole population.

It also recommends starting of preventive health and lifestyle clinics in medical colleges, and district and sub-district hospitals for screening and prevention of various communicable and non-communicable diseases.

It calls for upgradation of district hospitals to start postgraduate DNB courses and nursing colleges to start doctoral and super specialty nursing courses.

The health policy has recommended to the government to bring a legislation for retention of doctors, who are rushing to work in the Middle-East or West after completion of studies at government expense. “Bold human resource policy changes are required to address the issue of human resource retention in rural areas,” it said while asking the government to provide incentives to doctors and expose them to newer methods of treatment.

To bring the health facilities to the highest performance levels, all hospitals shall be accredited by National Accreditation Board of Hospitals, a national-level accreditation board under Quality Council of India.

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