Calcutta, Nov. 15: The government will conduct a study to identify ailments most common in rural Bengal and on the average health of villagers.
Aware that Murshidabad, Birbhum, Purulia, the two Dinajpurs and Malda are among the most backward districts in terms of health, the government has decided to involve block-level health workers for the study.
'The idea is to find out the blocks that are most backward in terms of health conditions ' not necessarily in health infrastructure. Once these blocks are identified, we can take special measures to improve the health condition of people in these areas,' a senior health department said.
'Knowing which district is backward and which is not is not enough. A much smaller area has to be identified to make a real change in the overall scenario,' he added.
A set of parameters like health of the mother and child, infant mortality rate, level of immunisation and birth rate would be fixed to determine the average health of people.
With these indicators, it is possible to compile a list of the weakest blocks in the state.
'Improving the condition in these blocks is the immediate objective behind the study, but it would also help the overall health of the state,' the official said.
'A developed district, too, might have a few weak blocks, which need special attention. It is important to note the details of all the blocks and work accordingly.'
Other yardsticks like female literacy and the percentage of girls getting married below 18 will also be taken into consideration. Some of these figures are already available with the health department. 'We have to compile the figures and conduct studies at the block level to draw conclusions,' an official said.
It would then be possible to concentrate on the weakest blocks and lay stress on changing the condition there ' improvement of nutritional intake, especially of children and pregnant women, immunisation, improvement of sex ratio and infant mortality rate.
A senior official said areas with adequate infrastructure often suffer from maladies because of improper use of the facilities.
'It is important to use funds accordingly. Now, funds are being used on a broad base. If the focus area is large, it is not possible to take good care of people in remote areas. Once we get a clearer picture of blocks that are the least developed, there will be scope for allocating funds accordingly and the results will also be more positive.'