| Chief minister Tarun Gogoi and health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma at the function in Guwahati on Tuesday. Picture by Eastern Projections |
Guwahati, Jan. 4: Dispur has hiked the salaries of all doctors serving in rural areas with additional incentives for those posted in the most remote and underdeveloped char or riverine areas of the state.
Health and family welfare minister Himanta Biswa Sarma today said the monthly salaries of doctors serving under the National Rural Health Mission has been increased from the existing Rs 20,000 to Rs 30,500.
He said similarly the salary of dentists had been raised to Rs 29,000 from Rs 18,000. Ayurvedic doctors will get Rs 24,000, up from Rs 15,000. He said apart from the salary hike, doctors serving in char areas would receive additional incentives.
The government has also increased the salaries of general nurses from Rs 7,000 to Rs 14,000. The nurses under the auxiliary nursing and midwifery category will have their salary hiked from Rs 5,000 to Rs 13,000.
Sarma thanked chief minister Tarun Gogoi for giving prompt approval to the hike in salaries of doctors only on the condition that they were serving patients in most difficult areas like in the chars. He said the initiative would go a long way in motivating doctors to serve patients with full dedication.
“The new focus of the rural health mission in Assam is to reach those who are unreachable. In the 63 years of Independence, the people living in the char areas have been deprived of basic minimum healthcare facilities which has resulted in malnutrition among children, high infant mortality rate and pregnancy-related deaths. So, we have identified these areas on a priority basis to deliver the best of healthcare. For this, we need motivated doctors and paramedics,” he said.
According to a conservative estimate, around 30 lakh people in the state are living on chars or riverine areas.
The health minister said the government would also operationalise 50 public health centres in different char areas within the next three days. He said these centres would initially run from rented accommodation and the government would start construction of permanent buildings for the centres within the next 30 days.
Each building, to be built with modern architectural technique on raised platforms to save them from the annual floods, would cost Rs 1 crore.
Sarma said the PHEs would be well-equipped with 57 items of medicines available round-the-clock. The centres will have OPD service, basic laboratory facility, a waiting room for patients and drinking water facility.
Chief minister Tarun Gogoi, while speaking at an official function here today on the inauguration of riverine PHEs and distribution of ambulances to 50 tea garden hospitals, said the progress of Assam cannot be measured by bright lights and shopping malls on Guwahati roads.
“Development of Assam will be meaningless if we cannot reach out to the most underdeveloped people living in the char and tea garden areas. My government has been giving emphasis on these people for whom even buying a single dose of medicine is considered a luxury,” Gogoi said.
The mission director of NRHM, Assam, Dr J.B. Ekka, said each public health centre would have a medical officer, pharmacist, laboratory technician and accountant. He said appointment letters have already been issued to deserving candidates.
Dr Shafiqul Islam Khan, who has been appointed medical officer in Karaiheti PHC in Barpeta district, said he was satisfied with the hike and would try his best to serve patients.