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Healthcare for the needy: Opinion

The announcement by the Health and Family Welfare Minister L  Jayantakumar while inaugurating the Primary Health Centre at Kakwa to initiate the process for the recruitment of 270 doctors is yet another much needed move towards making health accessible to the general public. With liberal funding from the centre, the state did see some development in terms of strengthening health delivery system, a number of Primary Health Centres (PHC) and Community Health Centres (CHC) in various parts of the state came up during this period. But there have been numerous complaints from the people of the localities where they have been set up about the non- functioning of the same. While the building stands, these centres are sometimes without the most basic component of any health delivery system – doctors and nurses. The most oft repeated answer from the government in answer to non posting of doctors to these remote and rural areas is the inadequacy of doctors at its disposal. Hopefully this latest recruitment of doctors will be able to address the problem to a great extent. And if this proves insufficient the state government should go in for recruitment of more doctors, there should not be any compromise on ensuring access to health care to the most needy. But even after the government has the adequate number of doctors at its disposal to man the various health centres and district hospitals, the problem of absentee doctors and nurses would still persist. This, our past experience tell us. Most of the doctors who get posted to rural and remote areas try their level best not to go there and use every means at their disposal to avoid going to these places. And in most cases, an open secret here, this works to the advantage of those at the helm of affairs who can affect these transfers. There have been numerous cases of transfers being revoked, transferred doctors getting deputed to some other duties, some going on study leave etc. On the ground people are still deprived of the services of the doctors even after their posting at their concerned health centres. To ensure doctors are present where they are needed, the government or those in charge of the Health department should work out effective policies so that doctors posted in rural and remote areas do not view these posting as discriminatory or punishment. For starters, those who passes out from the state medical college, JNIMS can be made to serve for a certain number of years as part of their internship. Along with this, it should be made mandatory for all the doctors in the service of government of Manipur to serve in rural and remote areas for certain number of years for certain number of times, the exact modalities can be worked out by an expert committee. Whatever means the government adopts, the important thing is to ensure health care services is available to the people. But here again, it is clear that no policy will bring any relieve or pan out advantageously for the public, if those who are responsible for implementing the same are not sincere. Side by side, the practitioners of the medical profession usually termed a noble profession for its ability to give life and hope to the sick and infirm, should reignite the willingness to come to the aid of the most needy and not be perpetually distracted by considerations of career and financial returns.

Sources:- Hueiyen Lanpao

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