Madurai

Staff shortage haunts many UPHCs

The Urban Primary Health Centre at K. Pudur in Madurai will be upgraded to a Community Health Centre from next week.   | Photo Credit: G. Moorthy

Nine posts of medical officers are lying vacant among the 31 Urban Primary Health Centres (UPHCs) in the city, reveals an RTI reply. The shortage of medical officers and staff nurses has brought into focus the problem of the overburdened staff.

An RTI reply received by A. Pandi, a member of Communist Party of India (Marxist), reveals there are three vacancies for medical officers in Zone 1, one vacancy each in Zone 2 and Zone 3, and four vacancies in Zone 4.

City Health Officer P. Kumaraguruparan said the department had written to the Directorate of Public Health to fill up vacant posts of medical officers and staff nurses in the UPHCs. “Medical officers working with the Corporation have been temporarily deployed to fill these vacancies. It is ensured that medical officers are present in all the UPHCs,” he said.

A. Veronica Mary, a woman and child rights activist, said information received through an RTI reply showed an increase in number of inpatients and outpatients in all the 31 UPHCs.

With the increase in patronage, the medical officers and staff nurses are overburdened, says a staff nurse. “Though norms prescribe that each UPHC must have four staff nurses, there are vacancies in most of the UPHCs. Since, we are understaffed, the possibility of human error also rises," she said.

At some UPHCs the medical officers are not present on all days, alleged Mr. Pandi. “This affects people who are dependent on these facilities,” he said.

The RTI reply also indicates that there are four facilities with operation theatre.

Dr. Kumaraguruparan said the UPHCs at Sellur, K. Pudur and Ansari Nagar are being upgraded to Community Health Centres (CHC). These centres would have an operation theatre to conduct sterilisation and caesarean section. They would also have an upgraded laboratory with X-ray machines.

The Sellur UPHC would be commissioned as CHC this week and the one in K. Pudur next week. “Though the norms call for the presence of five medical officers for each CHC, we plan to start with one medical officer who will be present round-the-clock,” he said.

Construction work is under way at the UPHC in Ansari Nagar.

The fourth facility with an operation theatre is the Rayalu Iyer Maternity Home near Gandhi Pottal. “Since the building is in a dilapidated state, we have decided to shut down the unit. The equipment from the maternity home will be shifted to the new CHCs,” said Dr. Kumaraguruparan.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2021 4:03:59 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/staff-shortage-haunts-many-uphcs/article33162730.ece

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