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30% posts for doctors vacant: Plan panel

The primary healthcare system in the country is facing an acute shortage of trained personnel.

india Updated: Jun 11, 2006 10:17 IST

The primary healthcare system in the country is facing an acute shortage of trained personnel with as many as 30 per cent of posts for doctors in government hospitals lying vacant, a planning commission report says.

The draft Approach Paper to the 11th Plan done by the Planning Commission states that random checks showed that 29-67 per cent doctors were absent from work.

"This problem of unavailability of doctors can be redressed if we mobilise doctors who are trained under Indian Systems of Medicine (ISM) like ayurveda, yoga, unani, siddha and homeopathy," the paper which is now with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for his views and approval said.

There are 1,48,000 health sub-centres, 42,000 primary health centres, 3,500 functioning community health centres for allopathic treatment, 23,000 ISM dispensaries and 3,100 ISM hospitals under the domain of the primary healthcare system.

While 59,000 beds across rural India serve modern medicine systems, there are another 53,000 beds under the ISM.

Currently, there is no sustained dialogue between the two systems of medicine. There are close to half a million institutionally qualified ISM practitioners, not included in the public sector supported primary healthcare system (except for 40,000 employed by the government).

"The trained ISM practitioners represent a valuable human resource at the village and block levels. This could be leveraged and co-opted into providing primary healthcare," the Paper said.