THE GOVERNMENT has loosened its purse strings to lure doctors to rural pastures. The latest incentives for doctors willing to serve the State’s remote areas include foreign trips and extra remuneration.
The Health Department struck upon the novel idea to offer ‘bouquets’ after ‘brickbats’ failed. The government has tried every trick — from trying to convince doctors to using pressure tactics — but failed to get medical practitioners to take up assignments in rural areas where health facilities are poor.
The new circular of the director general (Health and Family Welfare) Dr SS Srivastava says that doctors who will choose to stay in districts where health services are poor gets an payment of Rs 5,000 per month in addition to their salary. If a doctor couple opts for the scheme, they will together get Rs 10,000 as increment for the next three years.
And the department had also identified the source to fund the scheme. It will use the budget of the Reproductive and Child Health Programme-II for the purpose.
The districts that have been shortlisted under the scheme are Banda, Chitrakoot, Mahoba, Mau, Padrauna, Siddharthnagar, Lalitpur, Ghazipur, Kaushambi and Sant Kabir Nagar. The emphasis is on gynaecologists to ensure safe delivery and better mother and child health facilities is these areas. Docs who will opt for the scheme will have to reside on the hospital campus and have to sign a bond pledging to serve in the district for three years.
The bond opens an avenue to another lucrative reward — a foreign trip for training. The expenses of the trip and training will be borne by the Health Department.
Health officers hope that the scheme will catch the fancy of young doctors willing to gain experience by working in remote areas and in addition to that earning extra remuneration and a chance to get further training. “This will satisfy the demand for extra money and the training will upgrade the skill of doctors. The department aims to increase safe delivery practices not available in remote places,” said Dr SS Srivastava.