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Report pat for health officers

Guwahati: Statistics provided by the state health department said the community health officers (CHO) are playing an important role in increasing institutional deliveries in the state.

Community health officers, earlier known as rural health practitioners, are health professionals appointed by the Assam government in sub-centres in rural areas.

To be a community health officer, one needs to complete a three-year course on community health care, which is currently provided by Jorhat Medical College and Hospital.

The first batch of 92 community health officers was appointed in 2009.

The community health officers, however, are not doctors.

At present, 685 community health officers are working in the state.

The statistics show that the number of deliveries done by the community health officers is increasing every year.

In 2010-11, the number of deliveries done by the community health officers was 2,210, which increased to 36,038 in 2017-18.

One Nandan Jyoti Dutta was reported to have conducted the highest number of deliveries in the year (746) followed by Devashis Bora (688) and Habibur Rahman (674).

The highest number of the delivery cases by community health officers were recorded in Goalpara (19,122) followed by Nagaon (18,587) and Dhubri (15,602).

In addition to these, during 2017-18, the community health officers had also handled 15,09,807 outpatient department cases.

Assam health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, in a meeting here on Thursday, praised the officers who had performed well.

He said he would sit with the community health officers who had performed poorly in a few months.

As many as 36 community health officers did not do a single delivery.

Sarma requested the community health officers to play a more proactive role in attracting more women for institutional delivery.

Otherwise, he said, implementing family planning measures in the state will be a bigger challenge for the government.

Sources said births at home, aided by untrained people, is still continuing in some pockets of a few districts and this is one of the main reasons why Assam has the highest number of maternal mortality rates in the country.

The sources said the state government is working on upgrading the sub-centres into health and wellness centres and the community health officers will be responsible for maintaining them.

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