GUWAHATI, Sept 26 - The districts having higher tea garden population contribute to higher maternal mortality rate (MMR), according to a Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report, which also noted that the tea estate (TE) areas in the State lacked proper healthcare facilities.
Scrutiny of records in test-checked six upper Assam blocks revealed that 37.69 per cent of the maternal deaths reported during 2013-14 and 2015-16 were from tea garden areas.
As per the Annual Programme Implementation Plan 2016-17, there were altogether 793 TEs in the State. According to another survey report of 2014-15, conducted by the Regional Resource Centre for North Eastern States of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, 649 TEs had hospitals run by the TE management, but the status of healthcare in those TE hospitals was unsatisfactory, the CAG stated.
The in-patient department (IPD) was not available in 45 per cent of the tea garden hospitals and functional labour room was not available in 54 per cent of the gardens. Functional newborn care corner was not available in 82 per cent garden hospitals, while 78 per cent garden hospitals did not have laboratory service. Doctors were not available in 38 per cent of the garden hospitals, the report said.
The NRHM Assam covered only 150 TE hospitals as on 2015-16, thus depriving the populace of the remaining 643 TEs from the benefit of government programmes.
Moreover, in the six text-checked blocks of select districts of upper Assam having a significant tea garden population, only 57 out of 82 TEs had hospitals, of which only 17 were operating under PPP mode with the NRHM.
The CAG had brought the matter to the notice of the government, but reply was not received till the compiling of the report.
According to the Annual Health Survey 2012-13, the MMR in upper Assam (inclusive of tea garden areas) was 404 against the State’s MMR of 301.