13 December 2011

Nabarangpur district Health care in a shambles.

77 Out of 117 doctors posts vacant.
DHH is running with 4 doctors, without any specialists
An acute shortage of doctors is plaguing the healthcare system at government-run hospitals in Nabarangpur district. Every day, thousands of poor patients in the district are left at the mercy of private practitioners and clinics and fall prey to their exploitation. Even people are dying because accessing any form of health care in these parts is difficult. And even if there is a health centre in the area, it is often of little use.

Resentment is brewing among the general public towards the state government because of its apathy towards the state of healthcare here has resulted in a number of demonstrations and protests by social organisations, but to no avail.

According to hospital authorities, a total of 77 posts of doctors are lying vacant at various primary health centres (PHCs) or community health centre (CHCs) across the district, including the district headquarters hospital at Nabarangpur.

While 25 out of a total of 50 PHCs in the district are being run by pharmacists and 4th class employees even the  11 CHCs in 10 block headquarters are functioning without a medical-in-charge, and any specialists. Key posts Medicine, peadiatrics, surgery, O&G, Asst surgen are lying vacant in all the CHCs.

 More than three lakh people are depend upon the District Headquarters Hospital, key posts in the CDMO post is lying vacant since October 1 and the two ADMO post (senior class-1) since long. The posts of medicine, paediatrics, surgery, O&G, anesthesia, orthopedics, ophthalmology, ENT, radiology, skin&VD, TB&CD, anesthesia,  gynaecology specialist are also lying vacant. Things have come to such a pass that the people have lost faith in this referral hospital to which thousands of patients from peripheral health centres come for succour. The DHH has modern technique equipments like radiology, ultrasound and many more but are no use and the machines are gathering dust.

Ironically, it's not like there is no health infrastructure in place in the tribal-dominated and Maoist-violence affected Nabarangpur district. On paper at least, it has 50 PHCs and eleven community health centres (CHCs) covering 10 blocks. But what use is a mere building when there is no one in it to attend to the multitudes of the sick?

To add to the woes of patients, some doctors seldom come to hospital on time in the morning hours. Patients coming from interior pockets are falling prey to touts who are diverting them to private nursing homes or clinics reportedly run of hospital doctors. The elected representatives have virtually turned a blind eye to the plight of patients.

The only leprosy unit of the district, located in Nabarangpur, has been closed because there is no doctor to run it. The tuberculosis and malaria eradication schemes sponsored by the government have been severely affected due to the lack of district malaria and TB officers. Besides, the district HQ hospital, on which patients from parts of Kalahandi districts are also dependent, is having great trouble operating with the posts of the additional CDMO, ADMO (family welfare), ADMO (medical), DMO,DLO, all specialists posts including  five assistant surgeons, a radiologist and a paediatrician lying vacant. The DHH is running with two paediactric, and two asst surgeon. Said ADMO, Dr.Panda.
"I failed to fill up these vacancies despite repeated official reminders to the director of health and family welfare of the state govt; so I sought help from the local minister, Ramesh Chandra Majhi, for his intervention, but that is yet to yield any result," said Sibabrata Dash, the Collector of Nabarangpur.

"Large-scale vacancies in doctors' positions have seriously affected healthcare at the local level. Shortage of radiologists and other experts for maintaining and operating various testing machines is hampering work at hospitals and clinics, compelling the poor patients to opt for private clinics where they have to pay a lot of money. The entire healthcare system is in a complete shambles in the district," said Julu Mohanty, a Nabarangpur-based social activist.

Dr J.K. Behera, former Chief District Medical Officer of Nabarangpur district hospital, explains the reasons that have brought the entire system to its knees, "This is one of the most backward and underdeveloped tribal districts with a lack of proper connectivity and educational facilities. So most of the doctors who are posted here are not willing to stay on. Moreover, over last few years there has been an increase in Maoist activities in the district and the situation is only getting worse. Fearing for their life in places like Kundei, Raighr, Jharigram and Umerkot, doctors are not ready to work."
            Though Navin Patnaik government had claimed that by 2012, the healthcare service will reach the doorstep of people in Odisha need to be backed by some serious efforts.