Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, July 26:
Members from both the opposition and the ruling party expressed concern over the shortage of doctors plaguing the state during Question Hour on Friday in the Odisha Assembly.
Members cutting across party lines said things had not improved despite several incentives being provided for appointment of doctors in KBK and tribal areas of the state which was a cause for serious concern.
Members said while the national average was one doctor available for every 2,500 persons, in Odisha’s tribal dominated regions, there was one doctor available for a population of 10,000 -15,000. In tribal dominated districts like Kalahandi and Koraput, more than 70 percent of doctor posts were vacant, said members during the debate.
Former Revenue minister and ruling party member Suryanarayan Patro advised the Health minister to visit Tamil Nadu and emulate the model in that state by allowing government and private medical colleges to introduce MBBS courses recognized only in the state by the state’s universities bypassing MCI guidelines while following the same courses of studies as laid down by the MCI.
Patro said as doctors passing out from these colleges are not eligible for practicing outside the state, they are bound to work in the state. A situation will arise when there will be no dearth of doctors as has happened today in the case of engineers, thus solving the problem.
Health minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak, while admitting shortage of doctors in the state, said the government under the current provisions gets a bond from the doctors who join the state government’s health services to serve in the state for a specified period. But it cannot prevent doctors passing out from Odisha medical colleges to take up jobs outside the state.
He however, said the state government is preparing a new strategy to solve the problem.