The economic survey 2016-17 tabled in the state legislature on Thursday claims remarkable improvement in health indicators in Bihar, but the data provided therein gives a contradictory picture.
For instance, in case of child mortality rate (CMR), the situation has either deteriorated or remained static over the years. While total CMR (rural and urban) was 11 in 2013, it rose to 12 in 2014. The figure in 2011 was 12.
Similarly, infant mortality rate (IMR) remained static (42 per 1,000 live births) in 2014 in comparison to the preceding year. In 2011 it was 44. However, the decline of IMR at the national level was much higher, which was 39 in 2014 in comparison to 44 in 2011.
The economic survey says that owing to initiatives taken by the government, the functioning of public health institutions has improved. As a result, the average number of patients visiting government hospitals per month increased from 9,317 in 2011 to 10,476 in 2013.
- Data contradicts government’s claim in health sector
- Decline in number of patients to government hospitals
- Decrease in number of institutional deliveries
- Huge vacancy of doctors and nurses
- Increase in child mortality rate
However, as per the data provided by the government, the number of patients visiting health facilities came down drastically in 2014 and 2015. While in 2014 the figure was 9871, in 2015 the figure was 9,778. The situation improved in 2016 (up to September) but the figure 10,232 was lower than that of 2013.
Again there was a drop in the number of institutional deliveries from 16.47 lakh in 2013-14 to 15.34 lakh in 2015-16.
Also, in respect of the number of health personnel employed in the hospitals, the survey report does not provide a rosy picture. For instance, as against the sanctioned post of 6,261 doctors, the working strength was only 3,154 in 2016-17, indicating a vacancy of about 50%.
Similarly, as against the sanctioned post of 3,612 regular nurses, the actual strength was only 1,979 showing a vacancy ratio of 45%.
In respect of life expectancy of birth (LEB) and total fertility rate (TFR), the state witnessed significant improvement since 2011.