Even though the Odisha government is rolling out a plethora of programs to ensure better health facilities, the ground reality in several parts of the state still tells a different story. While some care units lack basic medical equipment, the unavailability of doctors in many hospitals continues to disrupt the entire healthcare delivery system.
In a glaring example of such a poor health facility, beds at ESI Badbil Hospital in Keonjhar are gathering dust while laboratory equipment is in a dilapidated state. According to residents, the doctor who works there has been on leave for four months and the nurses and attendants at the hospital are insufficient.
A Kansabahal doctor visits the hospital once or twice a month to treat patients, residents said.
In addition, patients are deprived of medicines in time because the position of pharmacist is vacant in the hospital. Likewise, the ambulance has been disused for years, residents said, adding that if their issue is not resolved immediately, they will soon launch a protest.
“We are facing many problems due to the unavailability of doctors in the hospital. The nurses here prescribe our medicines,” said Santosh Sahoo, a patient.
“Due to lack of staff, we are unable to meet the needs of patients. We need at least a pharmacist and a doctor for proper functioning,” said Pramila Behera, a nurse at the hospital.
Relevant medical authorities could not be reached for their reaction to the allegations.
Similarly, the scene at Dharmasala Community Health Center (CHC) in Jajpur is no different. The unavailability of doctors in key departments like medicine, orthopedics, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology continues to trouble the healthcare delivery mechanism in the hospital. Furthermore, the MCH building, which was constructed at the cost of several million rupees, is not yet functional.
“We are obliged to take the medical opinion of doctors who are not experts in obstetrics and gynecology because the positions of doctors in the departments concerned are vacant. We just want the government to fill the vacancies so that we can get better health facilities,” said Sita Behera, a family member of a patient.
Responding to the allegation, Jajpur District Health Officer Biranchi Narayan Barick said, “Of the 11 medical posts allocated to Dharmasala CHC, five are vacant. We have notified the Odisha government and soon the vacancies will be filled.