BHUBANESWAR: Even as members, cutting across party lines, expressed concern over the huge vacancy of doctors in the State, Health and Family Welfare Minister Prasanna Acharya said the situation was much better here compared to the national average.
Responding to the demand discussion of his Department, the Minister said shortage of doctors was a national phenomenon.
As per the Indian Public Health Standard (IPHS), the state’s requirement is 11,763 doctors against which 10,288 doctors are available. This includes the doctors working in corporate and private sectors, he said.
With a large number of doctor posts lying vacant in government health institutions, the Minister said efforts were made to fill up the vacancies. The Odisha Public Service Commission (OPSC) has been requested to expedite the selection process for regular posting in Government hospitals.
The Minister said MBBS passouts are appointed directly without waiting for OPSC interview. Besides, retired doctors are given contractual appointments to meet the shortage.
Responding to allegations that a large number of posts reserved for scheduled categories are vacant, the Minister said OPSC had given a list of doctors for appointment and the Health Department issued appointment orders.
The Government has taken up massive infrastructure development of the three medical colleges and steps are taken to increase the intake capacity of MBBS students.
Amar Satpathy of NCP and some other members urged the Government to stop the practice of contractual appointments when there is a need for regular doctors and other para-medic staff.
He admitted that the State had a dubious distinction so far as infant mortality rate (IMR) and maternal mortality rate (MMR) are concerned. However, there is a significant fall in the IMR and MMR following multi-pronged intervention by the Government, he added.
Initiating the discussion, Prafulla Majhi of the Congress alleged that the Government failed to provide minimum health services to the people. While states like Andhra Pradesh have dialysis units in all the districts and are providing free services to patients, Odisha is yet to open dialysis centres in all district headquarters.
“We have got dialysis machines for all the districts, but the machines could not be operationalised due to non-availability of technicians,” he informed.
The Minister further admitted that the State is falling short of blood collection. A massive public awareness campaign is required for voluntary blood donation, he said.
Pratap Sarangi, Independent, made a strong plea for making available generic medicines at gram panchayat levels and the Government should make it mandatory for the doctors to prescribe generic medicines to the patients.