SNCU scheme miscarries in JK

Funds Provided By Centre Unspent In 19 Districts


Srinagar, Dec 24: The Health Department in Jammu and Kashmir has failed to setup Sick Newborn Care Units (SNCUs) in most of the state’s hospitals despite adequate funding for the project from the Union Health Ministry.
Official sources told Greater Kashmir that the department has established SNCUs only in three district hospitals including Baramulla, Udhampur and Islamabad (Anantnag) while funds for 19 other districts are lying unutilized.
Most of the district hospitals including Kupwara, Budgam, Pulwama, Bandipora, Shopian etc are yet to make these units functional for giving specialized treatment to ill newborn. “The funds earmarked for these units are lying unspent,” sources said.
According to sources, some officers are dallying setting up of these units in the district hospitals on one pretext or the other.
These units are part of the child health scheme under National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) aimed at bringing down the Infant Mortality Rate (IMR). Experts believe SNCUs could go a long way in reducing referral of sick newborn babies to tertiary care units and would ensure timely treatment. “This would also have reduced the load on GB Pant and other hospitals,” they said.
They said that one of the main objectives of NRHM was to bring the IMR down to 30 per thousand live births by 2012, the same lies at 43 for J&K state at present. An official in the Health Department said the staff engaged for SNCUs was being utilized for general duty at the hospitals, leaving the main objective of improving child health in lurch.
He said around 10 staff nurses for every District Hospital had been appointed out of which 6 are exclusively meant for SNCUs.
Lack of space at the hospitals for setting up such units is one of the main hurdles in various district hospitals as most of the hospitals are already deficient in space, sources said.
However, departmental sources say in most of the hospitals, many rooms are lying under occupation of paramedics, pharmacists, nurses who do not use them.
Although some of the hospitals have set up the units, the same are lying defunct due to ‘administrative apathy’ and ‘lack of interest in doctors’ to make such units functional. “They mostly rely on referring sick babies to tertiary care hospitals,” sources said.
Despite repeated attempts Minister for Health, Sham Lal Sharma did not respond to the phone call by this newspaper.

Lastupdate on : Mon, 24 Dec 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 24 Dec 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 25 Dec 2012 00:00:00 IST

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