Guwahati, July 4: Dispur has decided to send senior doctors to rural hospitals and healthcare centres on a fixed date every month as there is a shortage of specialists in villages.
An official in the health department said the Assam government had made it mandatory for fresh MBBS graduates to serve in rural areas at least for a year but the flow of patients from villages to Guwahati had not declined. “Nearly 10,000 patients from all over the state visit Gauhati Medical College and Hospital everyday. Most of them say they have to come to Guwahati since there are no specialist doctors in their villages,” he said.
Health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma recently discussed the problem with senior officials of his department, including principal secretary Sanjeev Kumar.
“It was suggested during the meeting that if senior doctors and specialists go to rural health centres on a fixed date every month to examine patients and provide medicines for a month to those suffering from cardiac problems, diabetes, hypertension and other diseases that need constant medication, the flow of patients to Guwahati could be reduced to a certain extent. Medicines will be provided free of cost. This would benefit elderly and poor patients who cannot afford to come to Guwahati frequently,” a source said.
From next month, senior doctors and specialists from Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Assam Medical College and Hospital (AMCH), Dibrugarh, and Silchar Medical College and Hospital (SMCH) are expected to visit rural hospitals in lower Assam, Upper Assam and south Assam.
The doctors will be paid extra allowance for such visits. “During the monthly health examination, there will be arrangements for blood test, X-ray, ECG and echocardiography. In case the condition of a patient is found to be serious, he/she would be immediately referred to the GMCH or the AMCH or the SMCH,” a health official said.
A senior doctor at the GMCH said he had no problems visiting rural hospitals once a month. “But will I be able to find time? I have to devote several hours at the GMCH everyday. Besides treating patients I have to attend classes to teach students pursuing MBBS and postgraduate courses,” he said.
Sources said the government would also take the help of retired doctors to implement the scheme. “Many doctors, retired from the GMCH, the AMCH and the SMCH, have shown interest in the scheme,” a source said.