Despite initiatives, health sector ails
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Various initiatives were announced by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to improve health services in the state over the past year. However, as the year ends, many of the initiatives have failed to take off, and many others have not achieved the desired results.
On February 3 this year, the health department in a resolution said the statutory board, West Bengal Health Recruitment Board (WBHRB), would be responsible for selecting and recommending candidates for direct recruitment to posts, both permanent and temporary or contractual. However, till now the board has not been formed. The reason cited for setting up a separate board was "delay in recruitment" of health workers by the West Bengal Public Service Commission (WBPSC).
Before the resolution was passed, recruitment in the health sector were made by WBPSC. But after the resolution was passed, it immediately stopped the recruitment process for the health department. As a result, hiring of 5,000 youths, who had passed the examination conducted by the WBPSC in November 2010 and their results subsequently declared in January, 2011, too got stopped.
In March 2012, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee declared that 11 mother-and-child centres would be set up in nine medical colleges and district hospitals in Jhargram, Midnapore and Cooch Behar, but the funds for the hubs have not yet been sanctioned.
In April, Mamata promised at a public rally to set up nursing colleges in backward areas of Jhargram and Lalgarh, but work has not yet started. Efforts to set up super-speciality hospitals in public private partnership mode in three backward districts —- West Midnapore, Purulia, Bankura —- could not be set up as no private partners showed interest. The decision was taken back in July 2012.
On January 2, the health department announced that seven subdivisional hospitals at Asansol, Diamond Harbour, Jhargram, Bishnupur, Siliguri and Basirhat in North 24 Parganas would be converted into district hospitals by improving infrastructure, but the conversion is yet to happen.