Shortage of doctors, health assistants a cause of concern for Health Dept.

‘We have made arrangements to provide round-the-clock treatment for flood-hit’

While the Department of Health and Family Welfare is using all available resources to ensure proper health services in government hospitals in flood-affected areas in Dakshina Kannada, it is finding it difficult to overcome the situation for want of doctors and junior health assistants at public health centres (PHCs).

“As advised by the Chief Minister, we have made arrangements to provide round-the-clock treatment for the affected people, more so for those in Belthangady taluk,” District Health and Family Welfare Officer M. Ramakrishna Rao told The Hindu on Tuesday.

Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa in Dharmasthala on Monday had asked the Health Department to avail of the services of doctors in private medical colleges to render health services in the flood-affected areas. Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers D.V. Sadananda Gowda in a review meeting here last week too had asked the District Health Officer to avail of the services of private medical colleges to arrange health check-up camps in the flood-affected areas.

As many as 11 posts of MBBS doctors are vacant in PHCs in Dharmasthala and Indabettu that are close to the flash-flood affected areas in Belthangady, including Kukkavu, Killur, Didupe and Kolli.

Among the other PHCs where the post is vacant include the one in Koila in Puttur taluk, Tingalady, Surathkal and Panaje villages. “Appointment orders are being issued for a doctor each in the PHCs in Jeppu and Boliyar (both in Mangaluru taluk),” Dr. Rao said.

There were permanent doctors in 31 PHCs, while MBBS doctors appointed on contract basis are serving in 32 PHCs. Dr. Rao said that these doctors are being deputed to work on fixed days in a week in the 11 PHCs.

Belthangady Taluk Health Officer Kalamadhu said that apart from MBBS doctors, four doctors appointed under the Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram are being deployed in the taluk. “ We are ensuring regular medical check-up at all the six relief centres in the taluk,” Dr. Kalamadhu said.

The department is facing severe shortage of male junior health assistants who play a vital role in the department’s disease prevention work. As against 228 sanctioned posts, only 47 are serving in the district. Of the 444 posts of woman junior health assistants, 346 are filled.

Following the outbreak of dengue in July in Mangaluru, junior health assistants working in different parts of the district were deputed in the city under the district administration’s drive to clear mosquito breeding places. With heavy rain in different parts of the district, the junior health assistants have been sent back to their original place of posting. “Now, the source clearance work has been allotted to 60 multipurpose workers. Students from nursing colleges and a few other institutions too have joined the drive,” Dr. Rao said.

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