Government data shows that most of the health centres in Bihar's Muzaffarpur does not even meet the mandatory requirements. The district is presently battling an outbreak of acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) which has claimed the lives of more than 100 children.
Most of the 103 public health centres (PHCs) and the lone community health centre (CHC) in Muzaffarpur did not fulfil the basic needs to be considered fit for evaluation in 2018-19, The Times of India reported. A handful of PHCs that were evaluated by the health department received a rating of zero out of five, health management information system (HMIS) of the health ministry showed. The rating consists of three point for infrastructure and two points for service.
As per the HMIS norms, a PHC that runs 24x7 needs to have at least one medical officer, two nurse-midwives and a labour room. The non-24x7 centres are required to have at least one medical officer and one nurse.
The government data showed that 98 out of the 103 PHCs failed to meet these minimum requirements are were not graded in the 2018-19 evaluation, the report said. The remaining five PHCs were rated zero out of five.
The single CHC in the district was found to be in equally distressing condition. A CHC is eligible for evaluation if it has two or more doctors, six or more nurses or ANMs (auxiliary nurse-maids), and at least one lab technician. The health centre is required to have an operation theatre, a power generator and separate public facilities for men and women. The one CHC in Muzaffarpur could not fulfil these criteria and was not graded, the report said.
Muzaffarpur also did not have enough health centres to cater to its population of over 51 lakh. The norms mandate that a district should have one PHC for every 30,000 population and one CHC for every 1.2 lakh population. By this count, the district should have 170 PHCs and 43 CHCs.
(Edited by Vivek Punj)