BHUBANESWAR: The year has been as challenging as it could be on the health front with public health concerns coupled with a belligerent medical workforce keeping the Government and the Health Department on their toes for a substantial part of 2011.
Dengue raised its ugly head in a disastrous manner for the first time in the State in August claiming over 30 lives and affecting more than 1,300 people across majority of the districts. Surfacing at the industrial belt of Angul district, which became the epicentre of the epidemic-like situation, dengue spread fast taking even distant districts of Sambalpur, Sundargarh, Keonjhar and Ganjam in a vice like grip. Angul accounted for almost the bulk of the dengue positive cases while Jajpur and Cuttack too were seriously affected. The virus spread continued till well into September until it gradually subsided.
While dengue acquired epidemic like proportions and the State Health administration struggled to contain the spread, it came face to face against a serious breakdown in health services delivery system with junior doctors and house surgeons of the three medical college and hospitals resorting to a strike which lasted over 20 days.
The fire of agitation was kindled by an attack on junior doctors of VSS Medical College and Hospital at Burla allegedly by a local BJD leader Sisir Dandia and his henchmen.
It soon spread to the other two MCHs at Cuttack and Berhampur with the medicos joining the agitation and the institutions slipping into a coma.
With the agitators sticking to their guns for arrest of Dandia and his banishment from the VSSMCH campus along with provisioning of adequate security and unification of campus, the Health Department grappled with the situation for over 20 days from September 5 when the former finally relented on oreders of the Orissa High Court.
If this was not so, the state of health services in the State was put to question when the probe by the Director of Medical education and Training (DMET) into the death of a woman Purna Nayak allegedly due to administration of expired saline at the SCB Medical College and Hospital in August sensationally revealed that as many as 1500 bottles of such saline had been administered to other patients too.
While the expose caused a furore, the advocates committee on health systems also found administration of expired injections and drugs during an inspection of the Dhenkanal Headquarter Hospital.
The SCBMCH and the Capital Hospital were in the news over falling of ceiling fans in the wards.
However, amid all the adversities, the State did rise up across several parameters and health indices during the year. The State’s IMR has dropped below 65 per 1,000 live births while maternal mortality rate has come down to below 258.
Institutional delivery has gone up significantly to 83 per cent in 2011-12.
Odisha became the first State to implement the National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke (NPCDCS) starting off from Nuapada and proceeding to include Koraput, Malkangiri, Balangir and Nabarangpur districts.
The State Government also launched its much touted Biju Gramin Swasthya Sibir programme in July to provide free treatment and medicines to the poor rural and tribal populace of the remote parts of the State through holding regular medical camps.
The initiative was followed up by the launch of the ‘Odisha State Treatment Fund’ under which persons from below poverty line (BPL) families suffering from serious diseases will be given financial assistance up to Rs 3 lakh.
The third phase of the Orissa Telemedicine Network (OTN) was also rolled out this year linking 25 districts with the three medical college and hospitals as well as premier national institutions such as SGPIGIMS Lucknow, AIIMS New Delhi, PGIMR Chandigarh to facilitate teleconsultations andevaluation of patients at their own district headquarters hospitals.