Short-staffed RBSK fails to conduct regular check-ups, PMC files plaint
The Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC) health department has filed a complaint with Dr A Nandapurkar, Pune district chief of Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK) programme, stating that they have not received a single survey or data from RBSK since the last nine months.
PMC’s health department officials claimed that RBSK medical doctors have failed to screen children from urban areas. Taking cognisance of the complaint, Nandapurkar has assured the PMC that he will depute a monitoring nodal officer to look at the work. He has also instructed the RBSK medical teams to coordinate and report to PMC health department on a daily basis.
Dr Ramchandra Hankare, medical officer of health, PMC, said, “The regular check-ups help us in providing quick intervention so that the quality of life of the students improve. However, we have received no data from RBSK for nine months. We wrote to the RBSK district chief asking them to provide data of health conditions of children within PMC limits.”
According to officials, RBSK have to conduct screenings on a weekly basis at anganwadis and on a monthly basis in other schools.
Ashish Purnale, district coordinator, RBSK, said, “We have a shortage of medical doctors and hence, have not been able to conduct regular surveys. We need 40 more doctors so that regular check-ups can be carried out and reported. In Pune, there are 633 schools and 928 anganwadis. Covering all of them every week or every month is not possible, hence, the team conducts the survey once in six months in aganwadis and once a year in schools.”
Dr Nandapurkar said, “This is a monitoring failure. We have now instructed the RBSK teams to conduct checkups on a weekly and monthly basis. We will also appoint a nodal officer for monitoring the RBSK scheme in urban Pune. We plan to regularise the RBSK programme in Pune.”
Health ministry asks state health dept to clarify on plans to discontinue RBSK
The ministry of health and family welfare (MoHFW) has sought a clarification from the Maharashtra health department on plans to close the Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK) scheme, also known as the child health screening and early intervention programme.
Hindustan Times on July 20 reported that the closure of Maharashtra’s child health programme could affect 2,000 doctors and all of them are likely to lose their jobs if the scheme is closed.
The health ministry sought a clarification from the state health department on Sunday.
Reacting to this development, Dr Pradeep Vyas, principal secretary of the state health ministry, said, “The central government itself was contemplating to rationalise the RBSK in view of the new health and wellness centres. However, the state government would continue the programme if the central government so decides.”
Manoj Jhalani, additional health secretary and mission director of National Health Mission, said, “In view of the new programmes being introduced such as the inclusive health and wellness centre scheme (Arogyavardhini), the states were instructed to come up with their modifications and re-look at the guidelines for national programmes.”
The RBSK doctors in the state have been demanding regularisation of jobs as they are hired on contract basis and also want an increase in pay.
Speaking about the health and wellness care structure, Dr Jhalani, said, “The health and wellness centre will need a full time doctor where all types of medicines (healthcare) will be practised like ayurveda, unani, allopathy and provided to the public. Since it is government of India’s ambitious project, it will include all possible care for all age groups; hence, we had instructed the states to make modifications if required.”