Nearly 10 days after 24 people including 12 infants died within 24 hours between September 30 and October 1 in Nanded’s government medical college, allegedly due to short staff and lack of medicines, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Monday unveiled “Vision 2035” for the state’s public health system under which all districts will get specialty hospitals and the government would speed up recruitment to 19,695 vacant posts in the health department.
A decision was also taken to appoint an IAS officer to begin the working of Maharashtra Medical Goods Procurement Authority established in March this year.
Amid criticism of failing public health system in the state, Shinde held a review of Public Health Department on Monday where Vision 2035 was laid out. It has been decided to double the budget for the department, construct specialty hospitals in all districts and prepare an inclusive blueprint for public health as well as medical education department by 2035.
With no official on board, the procurement authority established in March has not been working, resulting in shortage of medicines in government hospitals. Following the Nanded tragedy, the government has given permission to procure medicines at local level.
On Monday, Shinde directed the government administration to appoint eight officials and an IAS officer on the authority at the earliest. Directions have also been issued to send a proposal to the finance department to create 45 more posts. The authority is meant for single-point procurement and supply of certain medicines, medical goods, medical consumables, devices, equipment, etc., for public hospitals and medical colleges.
Shinde also directed to expedite the process to fill 19,695 vacant posts through TCS. The CM also directed to create nine more circles in addition to the existing eight circles within the health department to manage the growing population.
According to a presentation at the meeting, 13 district hospitals have been closed since they were linked to the medical college while 12 others are set to be handed over to the medical education department. “The CM directed to construct 25 new state-of-the-art district hospitals,” said an official who attended the meeting. He directed both medical education and public health department to ensure maximum expenditure of the given budget by March 31.
“Rs 8,331 crore of supplementary demands for ambulances, National Health Mission, medical building construction and medical equipment has been approved and an additional Rs 1,263 crore will be provided. Around Rs 3,948 crore from HUDCO has been approved that needs to be spent in time while Rs 5,177 crore from Asian Development Bank will be given for new medical institutions,” Shinde said.
The CM on Monday also directed the district collectors to undertake routine visits to ensure cleanliness of drinking water, toilets, etc.