As many as thirty out of 38 civil surgeons heading district health machineries in Bihar are suffering from medical problems. They are either diabetic or hypertensive or they suffer from both the conditions. Some of them have chronic ischemic heart problems, while a large number of them suffer from gasterenterological disorders.
In an effort to know the health profiles of the Bihar civil surgeons, who are supposed to be the custodians of health at the district level, HT contacted several of them and found out that increasing work pressure was mainly responsible for their ailments.
While a majority of them conceded that undue pressure, both political and bureaucratic, was largely telling upon their health, the others said it was a normal phenomena associated with advancing age. Some of them also attributed their diseases to frustration caused by stagnation and poor working conditions in their service.
Admitting that a majority of his colleagues were suffering from some kind of medical problems, the Darbhanga CS and president of the Bihar State Health Services Association (BSHSA) Dr Narendra Nath Sharma said, "The service profile of having to deliver round the clock service has pushed the civil surgeons to the brink. It has provoked diseases, which are largely preventive."
"Too much work and increasingly less returns has forced the CSs to succumb to several disorders including abnormally high blood pressure," added Dr Ram Nagina Prasad, civil surgeon of Muzaffarpur. "It is a pity that the salary of a CS is far less than that of the headmaster of a middle school," he said adding, "Under the circumstances, it is but natural that the civil surgeons labour under stressful psychological conditions and the fear of the future. This leads to serious medical problems."
Some CSs said on condition of strict anonymity that the intention of the present regime to change the health scenario overnight had driven them mad. "Coming under the tremendous pressure, they have become hypertensive and acquired diabetes before time," they said. Undue pressure by ruling party politicians had further aggravated the problem, they added.
"We are putting our lives at risk to keep the Janata healthy and happy," quipped the Patna CS Dr Pranav Kumar.