Lack of doctors continues to plague Antiretroviral Therapy Centre (ART) at the civil hospital here for the last two months.
The ART centre has been catering to four districts including Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Nawanshahr and Hoshiarpur.
Already, the people infected with HIV, heavily dependent upon life-saving antiretroviral therapy, have been facing shortage of medicines.
HT visited the hospital and found that nearly two hundred HIV patients come daily for treatment at the centre, but due to shortage of medical officers in the hospital, the patients don't get proper checkup.
The long queue of patients outside the centre itself speaks of their anguish as they have to wait for many hours for their turn. The centre has around 2,274 HIV patients which are regularly in touch with the centre for medicines and checkup.
Sources said that as per the guidelines of the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), there is a requirement of three medical officers for the centre which has 2,000 patients for its efficient working. But, this centre has only one medical officer for the past few months.
Moreover, this centre has never seen three doctors since its inception at the civil hospital and always had only two doctors.
Sources further said that before leaving this centre, the outgoing doctor had informed higher authorities but they had not recruited any other doctor for this centre.
Sources further said that it was difficult for a single doctor to conduct check up of 200 patients daily.
They further added that most of the patients also failed to get proper checkup at the centre. Sources said that the civil hospital had also written to the Punjab State AIDS Control Society months ago for recruitment of medical officers for this centre but no avail.
When contacted, medical superintendent Jagjit Singh Cheema said that they had called two doctors, who were in the waiting list, but they have not turned up.
Cheema further said that now they have written to the society for immediate recruitment of at least one doctor.
When contacted, assistant project director, Punjab AIDS Control Society, Manpreet Chatwal, said that doctors did not want to join the centre due to less salary package of Rs 25,000.
Chatwal further said that the new provisions under the national programme of the union government, which offer good salary package, would solve this problem and doctors would then be recruited soon.