HC orders health dept to improve infrastructure, appoint required staff at dist hospital, PHCs

Staff Reporter
NAHARLAGUN, Jun 29: The Itanagar bench of the Gauhati high court has ordered the health department to improve the infrastructure of the Tezu district hospital and the primary health centres (PHC) in Loiliang and Tafragam in Lohit district as per the Indian Public Health Standard (IPHS) guidelines, and to appoint the required number of staffers for their proper functioning.
The court has given two months’ time to enable the department to take appropriate action.
During a hearing held on 26 June, the court took note that the district hospital in Tezu, which has been converted into a zonal hospital to serve the needs of six nearby districts due to the spread of Covid-19, does not have a specialized doctor in medicine, which the court said “is a basic need in that kind of hospital.”
Reportedly, the district/zonal hospital does not have a radiologist, a pathologist, a microbiologist, an ophthalmologist or a psychiatrist, as well.
Acknowledging that the hospital was recently upgraded to the zonal status, the court directed the health department to look into these needs and come up with a plan for creation of posts and filling up of the same as per the service rules within a timeframe.
“The hospital needs to be better equipped and better provided than what it is today… a hospital of such importance would remain a monument without the service of such experts in the fields, for no effective treatment can be given without investigation, which cannot be done without the service of these specialists,” the court said.
Regarding the condition of the PHC in Loiliang, the court was informed that the PHC is not only lacking in manpower but also in basic infrastructure. The PHC building itself is in a dilapidated condition, and while the centre has an ambulance, it is without a driver.
“In a place like Arunachal Pradesh, which is largely hilly or mountainous, service of ambulance is not a luxury but a necessity,” the court said, and directed the health department to provide a driver for the ambulance at the earliest, but not later than two months from the date of hearing, since the need of an ambulance is felt even more in view of the situation arising out of the spread of Covid-19.
The department has also been asked to send an inspection team to see the building and make all efforts on priority to construct a kitchen and residential quarters for doctors and staffers at the earliest.
Besides the lack of proper power supply, the PHC in Tafragam reportedly does not meet the IPHS guidelines of having separate wards for males and females.
Since the PHC was recently upgraded from a sub-centre, the court directed the health department to work out a plan to make such facilities available and submit a timeframe for completion of the plan in the next hearing.
Reportedly, the PHC in Tafragam also lacks a laboratory technician and an accountant-cum-data entry operator, besides pharmacists (one each for allopathy and AYUSH). The present strength of staff nurse also needs to be increased.
The health department has been directed to look into these matters and come up with a plan for creating such posts, so that appointments are made within a reasonable length of time “and the PHC does not remain just in name but serves its purpose at the earliest.”
Senior Additional Advocate General, K Ete informed the court that plans are afoot to improve the health facilities in the state, especially in view of the nationwide pandemic, while also informing that the status of the district hospital and the two PHCs may have seen substantial changes since a number of actions have been taken for their improvement.
He said he would inform the court on the measures and plans being undertaken for improving the health facilities in the state in the next hearing.