Over a year has passed since the National Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) released its ambitious manifesto “Nagaland – Towards a State of Excellence” on 18 February 2023. The party claimed that it would work on five principles: responsibility, accountability, awareness, impartiality, and transparency, including a special emphasis on ‘Eastern Nagaland’. This report evaluates the progress made on healthcare promises.

Evaluation of Healthcare Promises

Kohima Medical College
The manifesto promised fast-paced development of the Medical College in Kohima. Significant progress has been made:

· On September 1, 2023, Nagaland’s first medical college (NIMSR) inducted its first batch of students, nine years after the foundation stone was laid.

· On September 22, 2023, CM Rio requested the Union Health Minister to convert NIMSR into a Central Regional Institution.

· On February 20, 2024, the Finance Ministry announced a Rs 5.53 crore project for establishing a Medical College Hospital at NIMSR with aid from Japan.

The development of the Medical College in Kohima shows significant progress, particularly with the induction of students and efforts to secure additional central support. However, the prolonged nine-year timeline raises questions about the pace and efficiency of project execution.

Medical College in Mon

The manifesto also included the sanction and approval of a Medical College for Mon. The Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Dr Bharati Pravin Pawar  informed  on 4 August 2023 that the Centre has already released Rs 242.50 crore for Government Medical College, Mon to the state government.

According to Dr Pawar, the Government Medical College Mon was approved under Phase-III of the Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) for “Establishment of new medical colleges attached with existing district/referral hospitals”.

She stated that the college was approved with a total cost of Rs. 325 crore, of which the central share is Rs. 292.50 crore. Out of this central share, Rs. 242.50 crore has already been released to the state government.

As per guidelines of the scheme, she said the planning, execution and commissioning of the project was to be done by the state government.

Despite the significant funding, the actual establishment and operationalization depend on effective state-level execution, which needs close monitoring.

Para-Medical Institutes and Nursing Colleges

The establishment of new paramedical institutes and nursing colleges was another key promise. Notable developments include the approval of 2 new nursing colleges in Nagaland on April 27, 2023 by the Cabinet  Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by  PM Modi. On February 24, 2024, the North East Regional Multi-disciplinary Paramedical Institute (NERMPI) was inaugurated at CIHSR, Chümoukedima.

These developments are positive, though challenges remain in service delivery due to a shortage of trained paramedics.

Upgradation of District Hospitals

The NDPP promised the upgradation of district hospitals with modern facilities. Although significant progress is yet to be seen, on September 3, 2023, Minister of Health and Family Welfare (H&FW) P Paiwang Konyak announced that the District Hospital Dimapur (DHD) will be converted into a Referral Hospital of the state. The Health Minister pledged personal donation of medical equipment worth Rs 66.50 lakh and plans to address manpower shortages through a reshuffling of doctors/medical officers.

Paiwang said specialists, doctors and program officers posted in the directorate would be posted to district hospitals or medical centres.

Chief Minister’s Health Insurance Scheme (CMHIS)

The manifesto promised the launch of the Chief Minister’s Health Insurance Scheme (CMHIS) for every citizen. The CMHIS was already launched in 2022 before the announcement of the manifesto. So far, as per the CMHIS website, the number of hospitals empaneled outside the State for CMHIS (EP) Beneficiaries is 56. Number of hospitals empaneled within the State for CMHIS (EP) Beneficiaries is 63. Number of hospitals empaneled within the State for PMJAY/CMHIS (Gen) Beneficiaries is 91.

Recently, an alleged glitch in the NHA portal reportedly disrupted CMHIS and PM-JAY payment claims. This issue, attributed to a technical glitch in the IT portal, caused problems in processing payment claims to the empaneled hospitals. However, it has been reportedly resolved.

Some promises have yet to see significant progress, including the implementation of a scholarship policy for sponsoring doctors for further specialized education, and the establishment of a Super Specialty Hospital with a special emphasis on cancer treatment. Notably, Nagaland’s first cancer treatment center, Eden Medical Centre (EMC), was established in 2016.

ALSO READ: Has the NDPP fulfilled its manifesto promises on transparency and good governance?

Mokokchung Times

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