Expressing concern over the pathetic conditions in which rural medical officers (RMOs) have to work, chief parliamentary secretary (health) Dr Navjot Kaur Sidhu has sought a better deal for them.
Terming it gross negligence on the part of the health department, Dr Sidhu has written to chief minister Prakash Singh Badal, health and family welfare minister Surjit Kumar Jyani and rural development and panchayats minister Sikander Singh Maluka, demanding better health services for the rural areas.
"The RMOs in rural dispensaries are working in pathetic conditions without a proper place, infrastructure, equipment or medicines. Not providing them with basic amenities amounts to gross negligence on our part. It is a sheer waste of the brains of one of the most intellectual section of society," she said.
She added that, "Also, it is our duty to provide best health care to rural segment of our society, which is deprived of basic health care. Hence, they are falling prey to wrong treatment by quacks and unauthorised people."
According to Dr Sidhu, there has been a disruption in supply of medicines to 1,186 rural dispensaries for the past 20 months. "Most dispensaries are working from makeshift places and are in a dilapidated condition," she said.
Dr Sidhu said authorising lower-ranked officers for checking qualified doctors is not only condemnable, but also a severe blow to their self respect. "It is just like asking the medical officers to check the work of the deputy commissioner and the SSP," she added. Dr Sidhu said the RMOs are also facing a lot of problems because of drug-peddling and they need support.
"Many have served in the rural areas as medical officers since 2006, but still don't have the PG quota. It is of utmost importance that we should give back the dispensaries to the health department because of sufficient funds and availability of medicines with the health department, besides scope for better training and higher education. Also, this will reduce work load on specialist doctors and MOs will learn more when they will work with seniors," Dr Sidhu said.