Aditya Dev, TNN May 16, 2013,
GURGAON: There is an acute shortage of doctors in government hospitals of Mewat. Surprisingly, the district with the worst maternal mortality rate and infant mortality rate, there is only one woman doctor available for the whole of Mewat. However, the apathy could be judged by the fact that the gynecologist has joined the health department only about 10 days ago.

The institutional delivery rate in Mewat is 42% implying only 42 out of 100 deliveries take place at hospital. A health official said these deliveries are done by staff nurses in absence of doctors. Sources said the health institutions are in a bad shape with two of the three community health centres (CHCs) at Punhana and Ferozepur Jhirka in the districts are without senior medical officers (SMOs) for a long time. In their absence, medical officers (MOs) have been made incharge of these CHCs.

Moreover, instead of two medical officers at each of 10 primary health centres (PHCs), there is only one medical officer appointed at present, said sources.

At CHC, Nuh, against the staff postings of 12 medical officers (MOs) and one SMO, there are only 3 MOs and one SMO are deputed.

The population of Mewat is 11 lakh and out of that 5.5 lakh alone lives in Nuh. In such a scenario, the medical facilities are too little to provide any kind of service to residents. A health official said the burden could be gauged that there should be one CHC over a population of 1.2 lakh. There is also a shortage of ASHAs (Accredited Social Health Activists) in the district. ASHA, a trained female community health activist from the village itself who work as an interface between the community and the public health system, plays an important role in providing key services to mother and child and spread awareness. A health official informed that out of 1,200, only 500 are available in Mewat.

This is when the criteria of appointing an ASHA was relaxed from class VIII literate to just any woman who can carry basic duties. Even after that we have not been able to fill the postings, the official added.

When contacted, BK Rajora, chief medical officer, Mewat, said, “There is a shortage of doctors, but the government gives priority to their appointment in the district. The problem is that many of them do not join here even after appointment. What can one do in such a scenario? Doctors do not want to come because of basic living facilities in Mewat.”

The government is also providing difficult area allowance to doctors posted in Mewat, Rs 25,000 per month for specialist and Rs 10,000 per month for other doctors.

Rajora added that besides one gynaecologist joining the office, four doctors have been given training in this field and providing emergency services. There are 53 MOs available out of 79. Almost 50% of positions are filled.