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At least 90 senior officials in Maharashtra Health Dept set to retire by month end


The Maharashtra Health Directorate is in the process of finalising a detailed plan to fill as many as 90 vacant posts as several senior officials in the department are set to retire on May 31. This includes Joint Director of Health Dr Archana Patil, who is also holding charge of Director of Health-Maharashtra, Dr Satish Pawar, joint director, and more than 20 deputy directors of health, assistant directors and district-level officers, among others.

Filling the vacant posts is critical to ensure that monitoring mechanisms are set up to address public health emergencies, experts told The Indian Express.

It is also crucial to make the appointments ahead of monsoon season so that the state’s health systems are fully prepared to meet any potential disease outbreak.

Maharashtra has two directors of health: Dr Sadhana Tayade holds the post of Director of Health – Maharashtra, whereas the other post of Director of Health is vacant.

Currently, Dr Archana Patil, who is a joint director, additionally holds the post of director of health. However, she retires on May 31 this year.

Dr Ramaswami N, commissioner of Maharashtra Health Services, National Health Mission, old The Indian Express that they were fully prepared to tackle this issue. “We have already recruited for 1,925 posts of medical officers and there is a definite plan to fill up the vacant posts. Direct recruitment is done via Maharashtra Public Service Commission and departmental promotions,” said Dr Ramaswami.

However, the alleged delay in conducting promotions in the Health Department has upset the rank and file.

It may be recalled that Maharashtra had, in 2015, increased the superannuation age of top health officials, including district health officers and civil surgeons, from 58 to 60 years. This decision was challenged in the Bombay High Court as it had affected the promotion opportunity of other candidates. The Bombay HC had scrapped the 2015 state government resolution in March 2020.

Last year, the Supreme Court had refused to intervene after two special petitions were filed challenging the High Court decision.

Dr Radhakrishna Pawar, state president of District Health Officers Association, told The Indian Express, “Several officials in the Health Department have been denied promotion for years together. This has been a long pending issue and it has affected our confidence levels. The seniority list is yet to be prepared”.

Dr Subash Salunkhe appointed adviser to state health minister

Dr Subhash Salunkhe has been appointed as an adviser to Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope. Dr Salunkhe was initially appointed chief coordinator for Pune Division in October 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Later, he served in various roles, including as the chairman of a joint monitoring mission by the World Health Organisation and Government of India on elimination of malaria and tuberculosis.

“We have toured six states and are finalising a report on the strengths and requirements,” Dr Salunkhe told The Indian Express. He also said his was a non-executive role.

“I have taken up the role of adviser pro bono,” he said, adding that the aim would be to restructure the Health Directorate, ensure teamwork within the existing health systems, build capacity to deliver services and be fully prepared for integrated disease health surveillance, specially during monsoon.

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