Governor perturbed over depressing healthcare scenario in districts

Certain corrective measures likely to be announced shortly

Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, Aug 5: Perturbed over depressing healthcare scenario in majority of the districts, Governor N N Vohra is shortly going to conduct detailed review of the Health and Medical Education sector and announce certain immediate corrective measures so as to alleviate the sufferings of the people.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that ever since the imposition of Governor’s Rule in the State, Raj Bhawan is regularly receiving complaints about acute shortage of doctors and para-medical staff in majority of the healthcare institutions particularly in the hilly and remote areas of the State.
This was substantiated in the power point presentations made by the Deputy Commissioners before the Governor during his visit to several districts as part of Public Outreach Programme, sources further said.
In each and every district, which he has visited so far, the Governor was shocked to know depressing scenario vis-a-vis availability of manpower in the health institutions. Even the elected representatives of the people expressed concern over manpower constraints in majority of the health institutions in remote and hilly areas while interacting with the Governor during his Public Outreach Programme.
Among the districts where acute shortage of doctors has been noticed by the Governor includes Leh, Rajouri, Poonch, Kupwara, Budgam and Doda. “Other hilly districts are also facing acute shortage of doctors and para-medical staff and the same will formally come to the notice of Governor during his visit in the coming days”, sources said.
Governor was completely shocked when it was brought to his notice during Doda visit yesterday that against 53 sanctioned posts of Consultants/Specialists in the district, 38 are lying vacant during the past quite long time. Similarly, against 142 sanctioned posts of Medical Officers in the district, 122 are lying vacant.
It was beyond the imagination of Governor as well as his Advisor B B Vyas that how merely 35 Consultants/Specialists and Medical Officers can provide healthcare to over 4 lakh population spread over 4500 square kilometres area, sources said.
During recent visit to the districts of Doda, Kishtwar and Ramban EXCELSIOR team had also noticed that majority of the Primary Health Centres were virtually not rendering any sort of healthcare service to the people because of non-availability of doctors. EXCELSIOR team had also found vital equipment gathering dust in the Primary Health Centres for want of trained manpower to operate the same.
What to talk of healthcare centres in hilly and remote areas even hospitals at the district headquarter level are reeling under shortage of doctors and para-medical staff and this aspect has also come to the notice of the Governor, sources said while disclosing that even in Jammu district there are several health centres which don’t have adequate number of doctors and para-medical staff.
“Keeping in view depressing healthcare scenario in majority of the districts, which he has visited till date and on the basis of complaints Raj Bhawan has received so far in this regard, the Governor is going to conduct detailed review of Health and Medical Education sector shortly”, sources said, adding “the objective behind having review is to ensure immediate corrective measures so that there is no compromise on providing healthcare facilities to the people”.
They further said, “the dismal scenario has also raised serious questions about the performance of those politicians, who remained Health Ministers in the State”, adding “the prevailing situation has also put in the dock all those officers who remained at the helm of affairs in the Health and Medical Education Department and were responsible for overcoming the crisis of manpower”.
“Even if the recruitment process was taking time the senior functionaries of the Government should have rationalized the manpower with focus on rural and hilly areas”, sources said.