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Uphill task: Doctors prefer to duck postings in remote areas of Uttarakhand


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Even though the health services and infrastructure have improved to a great extent after the formation of the hill state in 2000, the shortage of specialist doctors in the hilly areas persists.

DEHRADUN:  Despite the efforts by the Uttarakhand government, the interest of doctors to serve in the state’s hilly areas seems to be minimal. According to a senior government official, of the 1,067 posts of specialist doctors, 554 are lying vacant. Even though the health services and infrastructure have improved to a great extent after the formation of the hill state in 2000, the shortage of specialist doctors in the hilly areas persists.

The state government, which formulated the ‘You Quote We Pay’ scheme to woo doctors earlier this year, had hoped to meet the shortage of doctors and provide quality healthcare facilities to patients in remote areas. Speaking to this newspaper, state health secretary R Rajesh Kumar said, “Against the requirement of 1,067 specialists and super-specialist doctors, we have 515 such doctors. However, we are trying to fill this gap”.

“The scheme, You Quote, We Pay, is getting good results and many doctors have approached to serve in the hilly areas”, Kumar said. “On contract, 37 specialist doctors are working with us through a World Bank-funded project, the Uttarakhand Health System Development Project and the National Health Mission,” he added.

According to officials in the health ministry, under the scheme, the state government provides an honorarium of up to Rs 6 lahk per month to super specialists and up to Rs 4 lahk per month to specialist doctors. “Despite this, super specialist doctors are not available. cardiologists, neurosurgeons, paediatricians, gynaecologists, medicine, and physician specialists are most needed. Besides, only 33 per cent of the doctors have shown interest in serving in inaccessible areas”, sources said. Anoop Nautiyal, president of the not-for-profit organisation–Social Development for Communities– said, “Many doctors are posted in administrative positions, which needs to be changed”. (THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)