In spite of all constraints, demographic indicators of this UT’s health situation present a very good picture. Our birth rate during 2001 was 17.81 per thousand population and death rate was 3.41 per thousand. Infant mortality rate during 2001 was 17.33 per thousand live births. Couple Protection Rate was 58.16% and total Fertility Rate was 1.9/1000. The percentage of institutional delivery by skilled person is 88%. But due to constant migration of people from mainland, the couple protection rate could not be achieved as it was expected. Health infrastructure has been saturated in the islands and now what we need in fact is the improvement of qualitative service in the form of medicine, modernization, equipments and budget i.e. instead. Of further expansion of the department, emphasis on consolidation of the existing infrastructure is to be laid.
Keeping in view the isolation of the inhabited islands, difficult terrain and communication bottlenecks, all PHCs in the islands are provided with 10 beds and CHCs 40-70 beds with laboratory, X-ray machine and blood transfusion facilities for better investigation. Besides these, captive power generator sets, ambulances, refrigerators and deep freezers for maintaining cold chain have also been provided in the PHCs/CHCs and are managed by Doctors, Staff Nurses and Para-Medical Staff as per the norms prescribed by the Government of India.
Primary Health Care Services are provided to the rural community through the network of Sub-Centre, PHCs and CHCs which is based on the following population norms of the GOI.
In A&N Islands the GOI Has relaxed the norms on request of the Admn. As per the relaxed norms Sub-Centres are established at a distance of 5 KM and PHCs at 10 Km distance irrespective of population.
The 412 bedded GB Pant Hospital is the lone referral hospital for the entire UT with specialized services in Surgery, Medicine, Gynecology, Pediatrics, ENT, Pathology & Ophthalmology etc. with an average OPD attendance of 1200 patients per day. The bed occupancy rate of the hospital is 90%. The hospital is headed by Medical Superintendent who is assisted by Deputy Med. Supdt. Out of the 15 sanctioned posts of Specialists one post each of Medical Specialist and Radiologist are lying vacant as the incumbent have been transferred without substitute. The GB Pant Hospital is proposed to be modernized and upgraded to cater to the need of the population by establishing Super Specialty Department like Cardiology, Neurology, Urology and Oncology so as to minimize the referral of serious patients requiring Super Specialist intervention to mainland.
The Prime Minister, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee had launched the much-awaited telemedicine project on 3rd July 2002 being in Delhi linking the G.B. Pant Hospital, Port Blair with Sri Ramachandra Medical College & Research (SRMC&RI). The Telemedicine facility will enable the patient to directly interact with the Super Specialists without going to mainland thereby saving time, energy and money. The facility is already extended to District Hospital Car Nicobar, and will be extended to CHCs and PHCs in a phased manner during the next 25 years.
Under the ISM & Homoeopathy Unit, this Union Territory has 8 Homoeo- dispensaries-one each at Port Blair functioning since 1975. Car Nicobar established in 1986, Bambooflat, Mayabunder, Rangat, Diglipur, Nancowry and Campbell Bay from 1997 to 2001 in phased manner. Besides, foundation stone for establishment of a 30-bedded ISM & Homoeo Hospital at Port Blair has already been laid on 4th March 2001 by the Hon'ble Union Home Minister Shri L.K. Advani. During 10th Plan it is proposed to establish 10 more Homoeo dispensaries and 4 Ayurvedic dispensaries in consonance with the guidelines of GOI to integrate the ISM & Homoeopathy with Primary Health Care. The first Ayurvedic dispensary of the UT was made functional at Aberdeen Bazar on 30th November, 2001.
Although the tribal population in the UT is only 9.5% of the total population of this territory, it may be noted that about 30% of the total number of health institutions are situated in the southern group of islands. Out of 42026 population of Nicobar District, the tribal population is only around 26,000.