BENGALURU: Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s New Year gift of 50 new taluks in January 2018 was announced on Monday by Revenue Minister Kagodu Thimmappa. While on paper this will be a reality in 25 days, the benefits of it may take a long time to reach people in terms of healthcare. Health infrastructure and human resources have to be beefed up in a big way.
This will happen only in due course, officials said and will not affect patients in any manner as they will continue to avail services in existing facilities. It involves upgrading 50 Community Health Centres or Primary Health Centres to Taluk Hospitals of new taluks. “Existing PHCs and CHCs that are 30-bedded will have to be converted into 100-bedded hospitals. ICU and dialysis facilities that are available only at taluk level have to be provided,” said Prabhakar PS, Joint Director, Medical Services, Department of Health and Family Welfare.
Fifty more Taluk Health Officers and Taluk health office staff, PHC/CHC area re-allocation as per new administrative maps, planning urban PHCs for new taluks where required, staff/manpower re-allocation as per the new administrative structure, and planning of new functioning, reporting and review mechanism are the other requirements. Vijayapura district will benefit the most as it will have seven new taluks — Babaleshwara, Nidagundi, Tikota, Devarahipparagi, Talikota, Chadachana and Kolhara. Bengaluru Urban will see Yelahanka emerge as a new taluk.
Giridhar Babu, additional professor, Indian Institute of Public Health, Public Health Foundation of India, said, “As long as vacancies in all these taluks are filled up, it will benefit the population. As of now the posts of taluk health officers are filled with in-charge officers. They are not regular positions. If new taluks are created and there are more administrative positions but no people to man those positions, then there will be more confusion.”
CHCs are supposed to have specialists like gynaecologists, paediatricians and anaesthetists. As of now there are a large number of vacancies in CHCs. The department tried to fill them through online competitive bidding but failed to fill all posts. “If these CHCs are upgraded to taluk hospitals we need to have more specialists’ positions therefore it will take longer time. While southern taluks will be filled up faster, the places where B category districts are not having enough manpower, inequities will be further widened,” he said.