| Anugrah Narayan Medical College and Hospital in Gaya. Telegraph picture |
Shortage of government doctors has emerged as a cause of worry in the run-up to Pitripaksh Mela that is barely three weeks away.
The crunch not only affects regular health services but also endangers the lives of lakhs of visitors at the 17-day-long fair. Contractual doctors working at the primary health centres in the district have not been paid salaries since June.
Non-availability of funds has affected the integrated disease surveillance programme that involves fieldwork and office expenses. The epidemiologist, who reports outbreak of contagious diseases, has not been paid since June.
According to data available with the District Health Society (DHS), 36 of the 106 sanctioned contractual doctors’ posts in the district are vacant. Of the 70 working doctors, 15 are deputed at Anugrah Narayan Medical College and Hospital, Infectious Diseases Hospital, Prabhawati Hospital, Jaiprakash Narayan Hospital and at Central Jail Hospital.
Admitting the doctors’ crunch, Gaya civil surgeon Krishna Ballabh Prasad Singh said: “Of 198 sanctioned regular doctors’ posts, 120 are vacant.” Singh confirmed the DHS data too. However, he said: “The health department’s priority are the elderly pilgrims. So doctors would be deputed at the health camps from the available strength. We have requested funds to clear pending salaries of contractual doctors.”