Rogi Kalyan Samitis (RKS) have been formed at various levels of health facilities under the NRHM to ensure the local community’s participation in the management of these facilities. An untied fund is also provided annually to these samitis to be used for improvement of these facilities.
In Bihar, while these samitis have been formed in facilities, they did not meet regularly earlier, and very often the local community was not aware of how the funds allotted were being spent. Under the Community Based Planning and Monitoring programme, district and block level NGOs have made special efforts to activate these samitis.
Block Pramukh Fasih Ahmed Khan is a member of the RKS of Imamganj PHC in Gaya district. According to him, RKS meetings were held very irregularly earlier. Things changed when during the Jan Samwad, the role of the RKS was discussed and several suggestions were made for solving issues through the RKS. Since then, the RKS has been meeting every month and deciding on issues related to the management of the PHC. The meetings have also been used to scrutinize the accounts of the RKS. A decision has been taken to use the RKS as a forum for grievance redressal. Plans have been made to install a complaint box in the PHC that will be opened on a regular basis by an RKS member and appropriate action taken.
The Medical Officer In Charge of Imamganj PHC, Dr Ramamoorthy Singh, was also happy with the way the RKS was contributing to the improvement of the services in the PHC. Essential medicines, including emergency drugs like oxytocin and anti-rabies vaccine were in short supply at the PHC. Activation of the RKS had led to some of these medicines being purchased from the RKS funds. This meant patients did not have to go running to medical shops during emergency for essential medicines. In addition, RKS funds had been used for buying tables and chairs, getting a platform built around a tree for patients and relatives to sit on, and getting the approach road to the labour room that was potholed, filled up. The doctor now ensures that RKS meetings are held regularly. In his capacity as the RKS chairperson, he sends out written invitation letters every month for the meetings so all members receive timely communication regarding it.
Thus appropriate use of the RKS, the space for communitization in facilities, has resulted in remarkable improvements in patients’ comfort levels and an improvement in the quality of services.