‘Shortage of Gynecologists, obstetrics hits patients care in rural hospitals’

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Ambulances deployed in PHCs also sans critical facilities

Srinagar, May 12 : The Jammu and Kashmir government, over the years, has failed to address the shortage of obstetrics and gynecologists in rural hospitals.
Sources told Kashmir News Service (KNS) that the rural hospitals face not only shortage of female doctors, but are also understaffed though the number of delivery cases is increasing with each passing day.
Sources said one of the reasons is that hospitals face staff shortage in obstetrics and gynecologists is that young doctors avoid field. “It has been seen that there are two to three gynecologists in the district hospitals. The three specialists are not enough even to provide routine services. In case one of them is on leave or sick, the patient care is affected,” said one of the doctors posted in District Kupwara.
Sources told KNS that though the infrastructure has been improved in the hospitals, the shortage of specialist doctors is often a hurdle in the way of providing health services.
Officials in health department said that over the years, when the number of institutional deliveries had increased manifold, there has not been a corresponding augmentation in human resource in hospitals.
As per Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, institutional deliveries have increased 68,800 in 2008-09 to 93,491 in 2016-17.
Officials in the health department said that from 2005 to 2017, when the number of institutional deliveries and load on healthcare facilities had increased manifold, only few gynecologists’ posts have been created.
J&K is the only state where 50 percent MBBS seats are reserved for female candidates, a provision that had been brought in to improve availability of female doctors, especially in rural areas.
Sources told KNS that Jammu and Kashmir hospitals have been facing a shortage of over 10,000 doctors and paramedics despite drastic increase in footfall of patients.
“There are a total of 8,130 sanctioned posts of doctors, including gazetted posts in the Health Department, out of which 2,595 posts are lying vacant. Similarly, a total of 7,911 posts of paramedics and other staff against the sanctioned posts of 32,442 are still vacant, leaving the hospitals to work on crutches and making patients suffer,” said one of the officials in the health department.
He said that out of the vacant 2,595 posts of doctors, at least 1,173 posts of doctors were vacant in the medical education sector, while the health services and ISM were facing a shortfall of 1,422 posts of doctors.
Sources said that Department of Health and Medical Education has also failed to provide sufficient manpower in the Government Medical Colleges and Super Specialty Hospitals, which otherwise remain first priority for specialized treatment for the patients from any part of the valley.
Senior faculty members of gynaecology said that government had failed to utilize the qualifications of those doctors who stayed back in the Jammu and Kashmir. “Many of our pass-outs are working as Assistant Surgeons. They are posted in PHCs (Public Health Centers) and are working as general doctors,” said one of the doctors.
Meanwhile sources said that in absence of life support facilities and trained manpower, the augmentation in the ambulance fleet made by the government is proving to be a mere change of numbers.
“There are number of ambulances deployed in different health institutions of the rural hospitals. Most of these ambulances are just for patient transport, not even fitted with basic life support (BLS) equipments like oxygen, suction machine, and emergency drugs,” sources maintained.
Most of these ambulances that ferry patients to the hospitals do not have doctors and paramedics to attend the patients, Sources added. (KNS)