Despite tall claims of the state government about providing health facilities to people, three posts of child specialist in district hospital, Faridkot, and one each in civil hospital, Kotkapura, and community health centre, Jaitu, are lying vacant.
A new building equipped with modern facilities was inaugurated over a year ago for the paediatrics and gynaecology department at the Faridkot civil hospital, but there are no child specialists.
"Nearly 10% infants need immediate medical care after the delivery but with no child specialist in the hospital people have to rush to private nursing homes where they have to pay hefty fee," claimed a source in the health department.
The sources said the required infrastructure for the new born stabiliser unit (NBSU) existed in the district hospital, but it could not be used as there was no child specialist.
Even for the OPD, people have to go to other medical specialists because the senior medical officer (SMO), who is also a child specialist, cannot attend to patients due to the burden of official duties on him.
The post of child specialist at the civil hospital, Kotkapura, has also been lying vacant for more than 18 months though nearly 150 deliveries take place in the hospital every month.
A few days back, deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal had laid the foundation of a `5-crore mother and child care building at the Kotkapura civil hospital.
As the post of child specialist in the 30-bed community health centre at Jaitu town has also been lying vacant for a long time, private clinics are the only immediate option before patients.
"Every civil hospital must have a child specialist because the government is encouraging people to go for institutional deliveries under various schemes. In some cases, newborns need immediate medical aid, but in absence of child specialists they have to be rushed to private clinics where they have to pay hefty fees," said Darshan Singh, former sarpanch of Dhilwan Kalan village.
Dr Renu Mongla, SMO at community health centre, Jaitu, and Dr Gaji Ujjair, SMO, civil hospital, Kotkapura, confirmed that the posts of child specialist are vacant in respective hospitals.
"We can work to the optimum level only when vacant posts are filled. As of now, all the posts of child specialists are vacant in civil hospital, Faridkot," said Dr Rajinder Kumar, SMO, civil hospital, Faridkot.
The SMO, himself a child specialist, said, "I try to attend the OPD as much as possible."
Dr Surinder Kumar, district health officer, Faridkot, who also holds the charge of Faridkot civil surgeon, said, "I will write to the government to depute child specialists in these hospital at the earliest."