Worlds apart: Tale of two departments | india | Hindustan Times
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Worlds apart: Tale of two departments

india Updated: Jun 22, 2006 01:07 IST

IT’S A tale of two departments — Medical Health and Family Welfare. Both the departments are concerned with public health, but they are a study in contrast.

The Medical Health Department is drawing all attention of the government and its officers are leaving no stone unturned to meet the target. But the scenario is exactly the opposite at the Family Welfare Department.

You don’t need to sheaf through voluminous documents to compare the achievements of the departments, the outcome of projects and programmes run by these departments speak for themselves. Take the case of the polio immunization and Japanese encephalitis immunization drive. The Health Department had planned to immunize 70 lakh children in the seven JE infested districts in east Uttar Pradesh. Within a fortnight 98.9 per cent children were immunized. On the other hand, merely 40 per cent children were administered polio drops at booths set up by the Family Welfare Department.

The repair and construction of government hospitals located in the urban and rural areas are on in full swing, but the construction of health sub-centres of the Family Welfare Department is yet to be completed. The Health Department has already appointed doctors on contract basis to fill up vacant posts, but the appointment of para-medical staff in the Family Welfare Department is still pending.

But why are these two departments worlds apart when it comes to delivering or implementing projects?

A Health Department official let out the ‘secret’. Medical Health portfolio is with Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav. The Chief Minister’s office monitors the working regularly and there is pressure on the officers to achieve result.

Ahmed Hasan, leader of the Samajwadi Party in Vidhan Parishad, heads Family Welfare Department. At a meeting Family Welfare Department officers held four days back, Hasan expressed displeasure over the slow progress of various programmes and took them to task for adopting lackadaisical attitude.

Not only routine immunization programme but also the launch of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) has been delayed due to the apathy of officers. The selection of ‘Aasha’ (village level health worker) and implementation of RCH- II programme has been delayed. Hasan directed the officers to complete the selection of Aasha on priority basis.

Outbreak of measles, polio and TB has also raised question mark over the immunization drive of the Family Welfare Department. When queried Hasan said officers had been directed to immunize children in order to protect them from six killer diseases including tetanus, diphtheria, whopping cough, TB, measles and polio.

But are the officers listening? It does not seem so.A Family Welfare Department officer says, “Hasan can merely recommend action against erring officers, but it is the Medical Health Minister (Chief Minister) who has to execute the order. The officers are relaxed, as few have been punished.”