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Acute shortage of health workers in Karnataka

Image Source: The Hindu


By Hakimuddin

Bangalore, Oct 25: In Karnataka, 73 % positions of Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANM) and Health workers (HW) are vacant in Sub centers and Primary health centers.

Due to shortage of Health workers, districts like Bangalore Rural, Bellary, Dakshina Kannada, Madhya Districts, Dharwad, Bijapur, Kolar, Bagalkot and Udupi are facing an increase in health issues. Majority of population of these districts are unaware of the government schemes for health. Somshekar, a farmer in Kaggalipura says: “Our village has never been approached by any health worker educating us about the health schemes, there is a health center but I’ve never seen such workers who educate the village about the schemes”. Somshekar has two sons, who have suffered from Malaria many times and they are also unaware about the vaccinations and medical policies provided by State Government.

There is a requirement of 11,617 positions for Auxiliary Nurse Midwife and Health workers at Karnataka’s Sub centers and Primary health centers, out of which only 3,122 are occupied and 8,495 positions are vacant. There are 9,264 active Sub centers in the state of Karnataka, out of which 1,359 Sub centers don’t have a single Auxiliary Nurse Midwife. The figure goes even higher in case of Health workers as 2,587 Sub centers don’t have any Health workers and there are 743 Sub centers which neither have a Health worker nor an Auxiliary Nurse Midwife.

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Auxiliary Nurse Midwife and Health workers act as a link between the community and the health services provided by the government. ANM and Health workers are the grass-root workers in the health organization pyramid. The ANM and Health workers are the people who educate and spread awareness about the health services and schemes provided by government to the people. The Kartarsingh committee of the Government of India recommends that there should be 1 ANM or Health worker available per 10,000-12,000 people.

“The major reason for unfilled vacancies is that, there is no recruitment from upper level because workers are not interested to work for government, rather than working for government as health worker or ANM, they are finding better job with same qualification in private sector”.
- Dr. D.L. Kelkar, the health officer in Health and Family welfare.

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