Lack of specialists at Community Health Centres (CHC) is forcing villagers in several parts of the region to travel long distances to get their chronic ailments treated. They now want the government to make arrangements to get specialists visit their villages at least once a month.

According to villagers in Sorapat, Thavalakuppam, Bahour and adjoining areas, only common ailments are being treated by doctors at the CHCs and Primary Health Centres (PHC). Whenever there was a case of emergency, patients are asked to go to the government general hospital, as these centres lack specialists to treat such chronic ailments.

The most affected lot are pregnant women who travel long distances to visit the maternity hospital. Thenmozhi, from Sorapat, said that though her daughter-in-law developed complications during the seventh month of her pregnancy, it went undiagnosed as the doctors in the nearby PHC there were unable to detect the condition.

“We had to rush her to the government hospital one night as she developed severe abdominal pain. Thankfully, the mother and child survived,” she said.

Villagers also said that in case of an emergency, they usually go to the nearest private hospitals where treatment is costly. According to Director of Health Dilipkumar Baliga, though the department was ready to recruit paediatricians, gynaecologists and anaesthetists on a contract basis under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) for these centres, not many doctors were willing to work in rural areas.

Even those who take up the job resign within months quoting various reasons, he said.

Dr. Baliga said that though none of the CHCs or PHCs in the region had specialists at the moment, the department arranged for specialists to visit five such centres once a week for the benefit of villagers.

Deputy Director of Public Health Vijaya Balakandan said the main issue with the villagers was that they do not make use of facilities such as mobile health clinics that visit their places on a regular basis.