Gangtok: Days after Sikkim chief minister PS Golay announced health insurance scheme for all government employees, the state health department is planning to turn 147 public health centres (PHCs) and public health sub centres (PHSCs) into state health and welfare centres soon.
“The welfare centres will lay focus on the wellness which could include preventive and curative approaches before and after treatment, exercises, yoga with awareness on healthy living and practices therewith including mental health,” principal director (health) Uttam Pradhan. The welfare centres will be run by B Sc graduate nurses along with counselors who will be labelled as mid-level health providers.
“We have proposal for two doctors in each of such health and welfare centres but owing to the current shortage in manpower, the centres will have others taking over the responsibilities as mid-level health providers. They will undergo training on community healthcare and handed certificates,” said Pradhan.
The health and welfare centres will be for the grassroots level with the staple 12 services which would include activities like vaccination and mental health counselling as well. “This could particularly come in handy following the large scale recruitment of over 500 nurses in the state in two phases over the past one year,” said Pradhan while interacting with media persons at Press Club of Sikkim recently.
The department, however, admitted to having shortage of manpower and requirement of time for all the PHCs and PHSCs to be converted into health and welfare centres.
Meanwhile, only 213 families in the state have enabled the benefits for the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY), despite 22,164 benefit cards having been taken out for 40,000 families that have been identified, said Pradhan. The 40,000 families will enable as many as 1.20 lakh individuals in the state to avail of healthcare services worth Rs 5 lakh under PMJAY.
“It provides tertiary and primary level treatment and services for the underprivileged who have been identified through socio-economic caste census of 2011. They will be handed e-cards which will have the database of their families. The margin for now has been kept at 40,000 and the new addition to the scheme will happen only after the data of the next decadal census in 2021,” Pradhan added.