HYDERABAD: In a bid to ensure better health to newborns and to bring down maternal mortality rate, the Telangana government is planning to woo doctors offering better perks. It is a fact that doctors are reluctant to take up service in remote places like agency areas.
Meanwhile, the infant mortality rate and maternal mortality rate in remote villages are a cause of concern as most of the childbirths take place in houses and health workers have little access to these areas.
It is in this juncture the state government is considering to provide a whopping 30 per cent incentive to doctors who are ready to take up rural service. This means that doctors who are drawing around Rs 1 lakh per month will get an incentive of Rs 30,000.
It is said that the Central government has cleared a proposal sent by Telangana Health and Family Welfare department increasing the remuneration by Rs 30,000.
The offer is for private specialist doctors and the government is hopeful that at least some doctors may find the offer tempting.
The department is targeting young recruits, since it is difficult to get experienced doctors. Private hospitals are employing experience doctors offering very high salary, sources said. For instance a specialist in Gynecology, Anesthesia or Pediatrics with 10 years of experience will earn anywhere around Rs 3.5 lakh per month, and the payment varies according to the qualification.
Though the government has informed the district level officials about the plan to pay high salary to doctors willing to take up rural service, the officials at the Health department are not optimistic.
As bifurcation of doctors working in government service is yet to be taken up, the officials said they are scrambling to find doctors who can work in tribal areas, which are in crying need of health services. Unwillingness of post graduate students to complete service in tribal areas aggravates the situation.
“Post graduate students are not ready to work in remote areas of Adilabad, Khammam, and other backward districts. Some of the post graduate doctors deployed in these areas, returned without completing their term. They opt for convenient places like Warangal,” said an official.
The official added that no private doctor was willing to accept the government offer to pay a salary of Rs 1 lakh, when it was offered last year. So a proposal was sent to increase their salaries by 30 per cent. “We had sent a proposal to the Union government, which cleared it. The private doctors who would join will be paid under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM),” said the official.
Earlier, the officials were allowed to pay only Rs 1,000 per case handled by an anaesthesiologist. However, now they are contemplating to enhance the pay to the range of Rs 2,500 to Rs 3,000. Pediatricians will also get a similar pay, the official added.
“When government doctors offer private service, why not utilise the services of private doctors to work in remote tribal areas?. Getting a specialist doctor to work in a tribal area is a challenge, that’s why we are offering a lucrative remuneration,” said another official.
However, Dr G Sinivas, president of Telangana Junior Doctors Association(JUDA), said that many who completed MBBS, and with specialisation, are eagerly waiting for recruitment to State service.
“There are around 400 vacancies under the Directorate of Medical Education (DME), and 600 under the Director of Public Health. If, after recruitment, the government does not find people willing to work in rural areas, they can hire doctors from private service,” said Dr Srinivas.
Echoing the view, Dr B Ramesh, honorary president of Telangana Government Doctors Association (TGDA) said that government doctors would like to work in rural and tribal areas, and urged the government to take up recruitment at the earliest.