The government hospital, PHCs and sub-centres of Sindagi taluk deprive of specialised doctors and medical staff.
By Manasvi Gupta
Samshed Begum Mullah of Ganihar village in Sindagi had to undergo her surgery in another district after suffering from a heart attack because of unavailability of doctors in her taluk.
Sindagi has 76.82 per cent vacancy recorded by the only government hospital in the taluk. Only 19 of 82 sanctioned medical staff posts are working because of which one doctor is found treating all the patients.
Surekha N. Hagadali, Chief Medical Officer (CMO), government hospital (Sindagi), said that the main problem is the acute shortage of specialized medical staff.
Vacant specialised posts like that of a gynaecologist, causes inconvenience to patients. A number of pregnant ladies were seen waiting for the general surgeon, who was busy treating other patients.
Shankar Malli, Senior Pharmacist at the hospital said, “The hospital has a footfall of around one lakh patients. But most of the specialised staff is on a contract basis and after the contract ends, posts remain vacant. Some extend their contracts, and some get early transfers.”
The number of posts sanctioned and the transfer of medical staff in rural areas are in accordance with The Karnataka State Civil Services (Regulation Of Transfer Of Medical Officers And Other Staff) Act, 2011It makes compulsory rural services of three years for medical officers and 4-5 years for nursing and paramedical staff.
District Health Officer (Vijaypura), Dr. Rajkumar Yaragal said that the act has not been implemented yet.
He said, “Qualified doctors for the specialised posts are not ready to work in rural areas for various factors. If no one is willing to come, then what can the administration do.”
Sometimes pharmacists or untrained helpers work as doctors, encouraging illegal medical practitioners.
Mr. Malli said, “People adhere to more convenient modes and hence the business of unqualified and self- declared medical practitioners in the villages flourish. This can risk the lives of innocent patients.”
Dr. Nadav, claimed to be a village doctor said, “Malaria, typhoid and diarrhoea are common and since sub- centre either remains closed or doesn’t have staff, most of the villagers come to me.”
But Dr. Yaragal claimed that all the sub- centres and PHCs run normally, and treat all the patients.
Husen Bashhy, another villager, said, “Due to lack of staff and proper care in government hospitals, we prefer the private ones, which charge heftily.
Even to treat malaria and typhoid, we have to wait in long queues in government hospital because doctors are less.” He added that they turn to the local village doctor for general cold and fever.
National Commission for Human Resources for Health Bill, 2011 aims to ensure sufficient health staff in the medical institutions of the country.
Mr. Malli said that apart from the contracts, delayed incentives and physical harassment of the doctors by the locals adds up to the problem of fleeing of doctors from the hospital.
He said, “Illiterate people abuse the doctors if they fail to treat or save their family members. This poses a threat to their lives and they get transferred.
Also, people do not cooperate with the staff and want to be treated their way, which is not always possible. No wonder doctors are reluctant to join here.”
The Karnataka Prohibition Of Violence Against Medicare Service Personnel And Damage To Property In Medicare Service Institutions Act, 2009 states that any violence against medicare service personnel in a medicare service institution is prohibited, with imprisonment for a period of three years with fine which may extend to Rs. 50,000.
Numerous complaints have been filed by the hospital staff but no action has been taken yet. The staff said that the situation may continue if the required amount of money is not invested in the health sector.
Sunil Maddin, Executive Officer, Gram Panchayat, said, “Shortage of doctors is the problem of the entire district which has been discussed several times in high-level meetings.”
“To deal with this walk-in interviews for qualified doctors have been opened at all times. We have written to authorities but in vain. Everybody is trying to come up with various solutions like the appointment of AYUSH doctors instead of MD and MBBS, but still, the authorities don’t pay any heed. Development is still in progress,” he added.