Maharashtra faces massive shortage of 4K doctors for public health system
The Bombay high Court on Tuesday termed the lack of doctors willing to serve their bond period in a rural medical centre a ''tragedy". The court's remarks came after it was informed that in 2012, of 6,930 candidates available to serve the bond, only 1,730 presented themselves before the allotment panel for being deputed to 4,878 posts in rural areas. Of these only 1,473 were allotted posts, which meant that around 3,405 posts remained vacant.
Public health specialist Dr Abhay Shukla, involved in community monitoring of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), said that there was an acute manpower crunch in primary health centres. "The state has to devise ways of improving facilities and policies to get more manpower, including doctors to rural centres," he said. He pointed out that Maharashtra had emerged as an exporter of doctors for the rest of India as well as the world "but our health system doesn't have enough doctors".
Dr Sanjay Nagral, who has written on the brain drain issue in medical journals, said the government should not give an option to students. "The government and the common man support medical education for students by subsidising it. The doctors have to hence give back to society. There should be no paradox here," he said. He pointed out that more than 60% classmates from KEM Hospital were abroad.
The advocate said the local tribal population avoided a centre, despite a doctor regularly attending the dispensary. Inquiries revealed that the locals, who spoke only in Kokru dialect, found it difficult to explain their problems to the doctor. "The government should ensure basic infrastructure at rural centres and provide sensitization and basic language information to doctors," Warunjikar said.