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HindustanTimes Tue,23 Dec 2014

Docs unwilling to work in rural areas

None  Dehradun, March 02, 2014
First Published: 16:52 IST(2/3/2014) | Last Updated: 16:58 IST(2/3/2014)

The health department has tried but failed to send doctors to interior areas in the state. So it is a challenge to provide medical facilities in these areas. The department also faces a manpower crunch. In such a situation, Dr GS Joshi took over as director general, health on Saturday. He is due to retire in May 2015. In an exclusive conversation with Nihi Sharma Sahani, Dr Joshi talked about the fields he will focus on during the rest of his term. Here are excerpts from the interview.

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Efforts of the health department to send doctors to remote areas have failed. Do you have a better plan to solve this problem?

Doctors are unwilling to work in remote areas. The government posts them there, but they fail to join. I think instead of sending old doctors, my priority will be to appoint fresh MBBS students in remote areas. We have successfully deployed MBBS students who passed out of Srinagar Medical College this year. Now, on March 3, we will provide postings to MBBS batch of Haldwani Medical College.

If this plan is followed religiously, we will never have manpower crunch in the state. Most importantly, young students also do not have family issues and thus, can join us. Each student passing out from a government medical college signs a contract to serve the state for at least 5 years.

But will merely deploying doctors help people of remote areas? Don’t you think lack of infrastructure is another hurdle before the department?

Yes it is. Once doctors start working in remote areas, we will strengthen the infrastructure. We hope to receive funds from the World Bank. Basically, my idea is to strengthen areas like radiology, telemedicine and even medical tourism. Telemedicine is an important area which can help us during natural calamities like the disaster in June last year. Through telemedicine, patients living in any part of state can consult doctors immediately. It will help in linking district hospitals and community health centres.

The association with private hospitals does not seem to be working well.

Absolutely not. This year we conducted two health camps in public private partnership mode. Both were supported by private hospitals. This association will help us in reaching out to patients even in far-flung areas.


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more from Dehradun

‘Central aid to state rose in past 3 yrs, but growth slow’

The annual assistance from the Centre to the state has increased in last few financial years, according to official statistics, even though the Uttarakhand government has been firing salvos at the central government over it.
 
Two days ago, the state Congress unit demanded `4,000 crore financial assistance from the centre.
According to the central statistics office figures, the Centre released `4883.74 crores for the state in 2011-12. It released `4717.68 crores in 2012-2013. And in 2013-2014, it increased the assistance to `5418.60 crores.

Uttarakhand is one of the 11 Himalayan states which enjoy special category status besides Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim.
 
These special category states have to make part payment to the centre in lieu of getting funds for centrally-sponsored schemes.
Interestingly, on an average, central assistance has been substantial for the state though it has not helped Uttarakhand in increasing its Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) which is total monetary value of goods and services produced by a state economy in a given year.
“GSDP depends on various factors like rate of savings and investments and overall business atmosphere. But that doesn’t mean the state does not need help,” said Surender Kumar, media in-charge for CM adding that the state needs more funds.
 
The figures for Uttarakhand GSDP growth at constant (2004-5) price (as on 01-08-2014) was 9.36% in 2011-12. It was 5.61% in 2012-13 and 5.65% in 2013-2014.
 
Sometime back Planning Commission constituted a committee to study development in hill states arising from management of forest land with special focus on creation of infrastructure, livelihood and human development.
 
The report of the committee was discussed in Internal Planning Committee meeting held in February this year.
A Planning Commission note claimed that IPC broadly endorsed the recommendations of the committee. The report has also been forwarded to states for further inputs.

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