Bhubaneswar, March 10 (LocalWire): Health scenario in the state continues to be bleak with vacancies of doctors hitting services in government run hospitals and health centres, especially in the backward districts.
Cases of women being carried to hospitals on shoulders and makeshift stretchers and delivering babies by the road side because of the poor communication network are still being reported.
The biggest problem, however, has been the shortage of doctors and large-scale absenteeism among the doctors serving in government hospitals.
The state government recently appointed 622 doctors on a contract basis to overcome the problem but vacancies still exist.
Sources said that the state has a total sanctioned strength of 6719 doctors.
Following the appointment of the latest batch of 622 doctors the government would require 390 more doctors to reach the sanctioned in this field.
But health sector activists like Shashikant Mishra insist that health scenario would continue to be a cause of concern even if all vacancies are filled up.
“The government fills up the vacancies only on pen and paper but in reality many of the young doctors who are placed in hospitals and health centres in remote areas fail to report.
And even those who report frequently play hooky. So the plight of the people continues to be the same,” said Mishra.
This despite the fact that four new government medical colleges and hospitals have been set up in the state to expand the health care facilities and five more medical colleges and hospitals are in the pipeline.
This would mean that the number of medical graduates coming out of government colleges would multiply several times.
This is not to say that there has been no improvement in the health sector at all.
The healthcare delivery system has been strengthened through increased allocation in the state budget and also with the money flowing from the National Health Mission (NHM).
Many health care schemes have been launched, the latest being the Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana which provides universal health coverage with special emphasis on health protection of the economically vulnerable families.
Besides, there have been other healthcare intervention by the government such the Niramaya scheme under which about 593 types of essential drugs and surgical items are provided free of cost to all categories of patients.
But the basic issue of shortage and absenteeism among doctors remains because the government is yet to come up with a scheme alluring enough to ensure that young medical professionals serve at hospitals and health centres in the state’s backward areas willingly.