Chief minister Nitish Kumar, his deputy Sushil Modi and health minister Mangal Pandey launch the ambulance service on Saturday. Picture by Nagendra Kumar Singh
Patna, Aug. 12: Chief minister Nitish Kumar today directed the health department to provide a special allowance of Rs 25,000 to attract doctors to rural areas.
The decision was taken at a closed-door health departme-nt review meeting chaired by Nitish and attended by chief secretary Anjani Kumar Singh, health principal secretary R.K. Mahajan and other officials. "Doctors do not want to get posted in far-flung areas. We have decided to give special allowance of Rs 25,000 to doctors who work in remote, difficult, or Naxalite areas," Anjani said. He added that the health department will soon define remote, difficult, and Naxalite areas so that special allowances can be given to doctors.
Indian Medical Association (IMA), Bihar, senior vice-president Dr Ajay Kumar told The Telegraph: "This has been a long-standing demand by the Bihar Health Services Association (BHSA) and IMA. It was recommended by the state pay committee formed in 2008 too, but the finance department did not approve it."
The state government also decided to deal with stunting - a condition marked by impaired growth because of chronic malnutrition. "We will check child marriage, provide supplementary nutrition to expectant women and provide supplementary nutrition to kids aged six months to two years at Anganwadi centres," Anjani said.
The government has decided to increase the limit of financial assistance given to people under Mukhyamantri Chikitsa Sahayata Kosh for medical assistance by 20 per cent. Also, people can now get assistance for bone marrow transplant, haemophilia and transgender surgery. Free dialysis will be given to those below poverty line. The government has also decided to increase immunisation from 84 to 90 per cent by next year and take steps to bring down infant mortality rate among girls.
Nitish also reviewed the public health engineering department, which has been tasked with providing safe drinking water where arsenic, fluoride and iron contamination have affected 2,347 panchayats in 31 out of 38 districts. PHED has set March 2018 by when to give treated potable water to 30 lakh households. It will charge Rs 30 a month from BPL houses and Rs 60 a month from above poverty line houses for 70 litres per person per day.
Nitish also reviewed agriculture and the animal and fish resources departments in the evening.