GUWAHATI, Feb 3 - Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal today urged the ASHA and employees of the National Health Mission (NHM) to take forward the message of government health schemes to the grassroots for heralding positive change in the lives of the people of Assam.
Sonowal said this while taking part in the Second ASHA and NHM Convention, 2019, organised by the Department of Health at Sarusajai Stadium here.
The ASHA and NHM Convention, organised after a gap of 10 years, was an endeavour to recognise and appreciate the valuable contribution of field-level functionaries of NHM in improving the healthcare delivery system in the state. At present, 31,955 ASHA workers and 20,921 employees are working in various categories under NHM in Assam.
Sonowal said that the State government has taken up health as a priority sector to keep people healthy in order to chart a new course of development in Assam. “During the last two years and eight months, our government has launched initiatives that were never taken up in the last 60 years of India’s independence. Our aim is to bring revolutionary change in this sector to make healthcare facilities more affordable and accessible,” he said.
He said that the State government has come up with a novel initiative of Cancer Care Grid, under which 19 hospitals are being set up with support from Tata Trusts. He also informed that under the Chief Minister Free Diagnostic Scheme, around 20 lakh patients have benefited in the state. He said that 80 mobile medical units have been pressed into service in the tea gardens, apart from providing Rs 12,000 as wage compensation to pregnant women of tea gardens.
Sonowal came down heavily against a “misinformation campaign” launched by certain groups with vested interest that 1.9 crore Bangladeshi immigrants would get settlement in Assam in the days to come. He reassured that land, culture, language of the indigenous people were fully safe in the hands of the government, and urged people to stand united to thwart the evil designs of divisive forces.
Health Minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma said that many interventions have been brought in systematically to address the issues faced by ASHA and NHM employees during the tenure of the present government. He said that due to the government’s efforts, MMR (Maternal Mortality Ratio) in Assam has come down to 237 from 480 since the launch of the NHM in 2006. Similarly, there has been a reduction of IMR (Infant Mortality Rate) from 68 to 44 per 1,000 births and under-five mortality from 78 to 52, he added.
Sonowal presented awards to 10 best-performing ASHA workers and best performing districts. He also handed over cheques of Rs 5 lakh each to family members of five deceased NHM employees.