A tight-rope walk in Anantapur

Acute shortage of doctors, beds and buildings in government hospitals has virtually sent the health and medical care system for a toss in Andhra Pradesh, and Anantapur district is no exception despite having a teaching hospital.

The magnitude of the problem is very striking and can be gauged from the fact that the 500-bed hospital has 1,000 patients occupying beds on any given day. According to the government norms, the hospital should have been a 1,000-bed facility, but for reasons best known to the government, the infrastructure has not been developed.

Hospital Superintendent A. Jagannath told The Hindu that a request for sanction of 200 additional beds was pending with the government. Here, in majority of cases in gynaecology and paediatric wards, three patients share two beds and in some wards, one bed is shared by two patients.

An exclusive Mother and Child Health block has remained a distant dream for the past three years, despite the hospital owning a large chunk of land, says District Medical and Health Officer A.V.N.S. Anil Kumar.

Specialist shortage

Shortage of doctors in all specialisations puts immense pressure on the existing staff, with the Obstetrics and gynaecology department being the worst with only two Assistant Professors manning two units. In addition to the in-patients, the doctors need to attend to almost 2,000 outpatients a day, which touches 3,300 on Mondays and Saturdays.

It is literally a tightrope walk for the superintendents of other government hospitals too in the district to provide medical care of reasonable quality, with 86 medical officers performing the work of 189 doctors in 88 Primary Health Centres.

"The dearth of medical officers is so acute that we have got special permission to recruit specialist doctors at a salary of ₹1.6 lakh a month, while other hospitals are allowed to pay only ₹1.2 lakh, but despite that we are unable to bring anyone to work here," laments the DM&HO. He has also got permission from the government to recruit doctors from neighbouring States if none comes from Andhra Pradesh, as only 60% of the staff is available at Area Hospitals and 50% in Community Health Centres (CHC).

Caesarean sections are done only in three of the 15 CHCs as only five gynaecology specialists, to anaesthetists, and seven paediatricians are available for the 15 hospitals. The district has 42 round-the-clock PHCs, 15 CHCs, three 100-bed Area Hospitals at Guntakal, Kadiri and Tadipatri, and a 300-bed District Hospital at Hindupur. The Hindupur facility also has an average patient occupancy of 600 a day and performs eye surgeries.

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Printable version | May 7, 2021 8:57:43 PM |

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