The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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New health status for Siliguri

Siliguri, Feb. 16: Siliguri subdivision will soon get the status of a separate health district with an independent chief medical officer of health (CMOH).

Addressing reporters, urban development minister Asok Bhattacharya also said today that a number of additions and expansions in infrastructure in different parts of Darjeeling district as well as in North Bengal Medical College and Hospital (NBMCH) would be taking place over the next few months.

“Considering the increasing number of patients in and around Siliguri and obviously at NBMCH, it had become imperative to carve out a separate health district covering the entire Siliguri subdivision,” he said.

“The proposal had been made earlier and was finalised at a meeting last Monday, which was attended by the health minister and senior officials of his department. They have also agreed to a host of other suggestions for the improvement of healthcare and medical education in north Bengal,” he added.

Giving details of the other schemes, Bhattacharya said: “We felt that each block of the sub-division should have a hospital each. Two such hospitals would be constructed at Matigara and Khoribari blocks. Added to this, we have also suggested building a sub-divisional level hospital at Mirik and a health centre near Sevoke to ensure better facilities to residents there.”

Bhattacharya also said from now on, the total health grant for Siliguri would come directly to the subdivision instead of going to Darjeeling, the headquarters of the district. “Allocation of sub-divisional grants from the district-level often leads to delay in development works. So this arrangement has been made,” he said.

A few specific health projects have already been bifurcated. For example, the Darjeeling AIDS Control Committee has for the last six months been working independently of similar activities in the Siliguri subdivision.

Elaborating on the changes that will take place at the NBMCH, the minister said: “We have insisted that technicians be recruited to provide regular X-Ray, USG and CT scan services. Also, the number of house staff would be increased.”

In addition, three new dialysis machines would be purchased, while a couple of old machines lying unused would be repaired and put to use.

Last but not the least, the minister said four new courses would start at NBMCH. “It has been decided at the meeting that four new courses — two at the masters level for doctors, a graduate course in nursing and a diploma course in child health — will be started from the next academic session,” he said.

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