Ladakh worst victim of Govt’s apathy in health sector

72 posts of doctors lying vacant in Kargil, 56 in Leh

Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, May 8: Contrary to the tall claims of PDP-BJP Coalition Government about giving top priority to Ladakh in every aspect, both the districts of the region have remained worst victim of present regime’s apathy particularly in the health sector with all the healthcare institutions reeling under acute shortage of doctors and para-medical staff. Moreover, several health centres, which were upgraded many years back, are still without Medical Officers and even Nursing Orderlies.
The Leh district with its area of more than 45,000 square kilometer has one District Hospital, one Sub-District Hospital, one Community Health Centre (CHC) and 14 Primary Health Centres (PHCs). However, none of these health institutions has manpower as per the sanctioned strength despite the issue being highlighted by the representatives of the people at every forum after regular intervals.
This can be gauged from the official data, which reveals that there are only 65 doctors in these health institutions against the sanctioned strengthen of 121. What to talk of other health institutions even the District Hospital Leh is reeling under acute shortage of doctors as against sanctioned strength of 49 only 33 doctors are in position.
In Sub-District Hospital Nobra against sanctioned posts of 13 doctors 4 are lying vacant while as in Community Health Centre Skurbuchan against sanctioned posts of 14 doctors nine are lying vacant. The situation is worst in Primary Health Centres of Turtuk, Sakti, Digar, Panamic, Bogdang, Chushul, Tangste, Themsigam and Basgo where only one doctor each is available against the sanctioned strength of three to four.
What to talk of filling up of the regular posts of doctors, the Government has even failed to make available sufficient doctors under National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), official sources told EXCELSIOR.
“The Government is not concerned about the people of the district and all its claims about paying required attention towards the grievances of Leh are confined to official statements only”, remarked a district level officer of the Health Department, adding the prevailing situation was brought to the notice of senior officers of the Health and Medical Education Department at number of times but they have not shown any seriousness in filling up the vacant posts.
Keeping in view the difficulties being faced by the people, a proposal for upgrading the status of PHC Khaltsi and PHC Nyoma to the level of Sub-District Hospital along with creation of requisite number of posts of doctors and para-medical staff was prepared and submitted to the Finance Department early last year. However, the proposal was returned on the ground that Finance Department would like to have an analysis of all existing health units.
“We have not heard anything about the proposal since then”, said a senior officer of Health Department in Leh on the condition of anonymity, adding “the Government is also dilly-dallying on establishment of Dialysis Unit in the District Hospital Leh”.
Similar is the situation in Kargil district having an area of 14,086 square kilometers. Against the sanctioned strength of 163 doctors, 72 posts are lying vacant in the health institutions across the district.
During the year 2014, 10 sub-centres were upgraded to the level of New Type PHCs in Kargil vide Government Order No.585-HME dated October 17, 2014. These NTPHCs were sanctioned along with creation of one post each of Medical Officer and casual worker to work as Nursing Orderly.
“However, neither these posts have been filled till date not casual workers could be engaged due to ban imposed by the Government during the year 2015 on hiring of casual workers”, sources said.
The sub-centres which were upgraded to the level of NTPHCs are situated at Lostum, Khangral, Saliskote, Munjee, Parkachik, Cha, Bartoo, Tunjri, Stongday and Purtikchay.
“All this clearly indicates that Government is befooling the people of Leh and Kargil districts by issuing statements that top priority is being accorded to Ladakh region in every respect”, sources said, adding “if this is the scenario in health sector, which is flagged as priority area by the Government, what could be the situation in other vital areas can be easily gauged”.