Mizoram is set to institute a cash incentive of Rs 1 lakh or more to entice doctors – particularly pediatricians, gynecologists and anesthesiologists – to work in remote regions as the state focuses on improving infant and maternal mortality rates, Health Minister Lal Thanzara told the assembly Tuesday.
“As permitted by the National Health Mission, the department is looking to introduce cash incentives between Rs 1 lakh to Rs 1.2 lakhs to doctors to stay in remote regions,” Lal Thanzara said.
Responding to a question by ruling MLA R L PIanmawia on how many PHCs in the state do not currently have doctors, Lal Thanzara said there are a dozen such PHCs and admitted that lack of funds and unwillingness by many doctors is preventing the health department from placing doctors in every District Hospital, CHC or PHC.
In reply to another question, the Health Minister said the lack of funds is also preventing the government from setting-up an Intensive Care Unit, providing CT Scan and MRI machines and building a lift for patients at the Civil Hospital in Lunglei, Mizoram’s second largest urban centre after capital Aizawl.
R L Pianmawi’s question in the assembly prompted not just opposition MLAs but legislators from the ruling Congress to ask if doctors could be deputed to various state-run rural health centres.
Among them were T Sangkunga, who asked if doctors could be deputed as soon as possible to PHCs at Khawbung and Sesih (both within his constituency), and former Health Minister Lalrinliana Sailo, who pointed out the PHC at Khawhai, which caters to six villages with a total population of about 1000 households, has not had a doctor for some time.
Mizoram stands roughly midway among Indian states in terms of Infant Mortality Rate, with a ratio of 36 infant deaths per 1000 live births. Saiha district, in the south, has an unusually high IMR of 98. Other districts range between IMRs of 26 to 46.
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