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Meghalaya govt sets 100-day deadline to improve healthcare

Health minister Ampareen Lyngdoh on March 14 said that the government is going to place before itself a “100-day challenge” to address certain aspects of provision of healthcare for the people of the state.

“That will give us enough challenge and gear the system up so that we have definitive results at the end of these 100 days,” she said.

Lyngdoh also informed that the government will be allowing the people of the state to become part and parcel of the auditing of services provided by the health department to the citizens.

In this regard, she said, as part of one measure, the government plans to involve traditional heads and other stakeholders at the last mile to address the high rates of infant and maternal mortality in Meghalaya.

“Firstly, we need to address the issues that make women vulnerable,” she said, while referring to the chief minister’s “Save Motherhood” app aimed at making several services available to women.

Yet, a large number of villages are challenged by perpetually poor road conditions, which hinder access to health services. Poor wireless connectivity also means that mobile services are near-useless, especially among demographics who are not tech savvy.

Lyngdoh, however, said the government is keen on improving attendant care for newborns in the first two weeks of their new lives.

The department may also mobilise ASHA workers and village community groups to ensure that every child has the right systems in place to survive.

Given the abysmal performance of successive governments in expanding quality primary healthcare across the state’s rural populations, the involvement of community has become necessary to reach women and children.

Lyngdoh also said the state will prioritise cancer, one of the leading causes of deaths in the state.

As health minister, she will be visiting the Cancer Wing of the Shillong Civil Hospital on Wednesday to review patient facilities.

Another issue on the roster is tuberculosis, which is endemic to the state, and increasingly challenging because of the uptick in drug-resistant tuberculosis – 65 per cent in seven years as per state figures from 2021.

The overall ambition of the department is to now ensure that citizens have access to better health care facilities and to address the shortage of doctors, despite several new appointments. The Meghalayan

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