Lack of proper diagnostic faciltities and ultrasound machines is toying with the health of residents in the district.
The lone machine at the 100-bed local government hospital is always crowded and patients and their attendants then have to fend for themselves and look at options in private clinics, where the charges are 3-4 times.
If you thought that this is where the misery ends, think again. Shortage of radiologists has meant that even this lone machine is available only on three days, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday. The specialist also travels from Ferozepur to the hospital to offer his services.
All other health centres at Jaitu, Sadak and Bajakhana, both of which serve the rural population, of course lack any diagnostic equipment of any kind.
At the Jaitu community health centre, staff shortage reportedly forced the authorities to abandon the idea of operationalising a machine.
An unltrasound machine is available at the Kotkapura civil hospital, where hospital authorities have hired a sonologist on a share basis as per the government rules.
"The facility of ultrasound scans facility should be provided even in community health centres also and at the district hospital, it should be provided for all the days of the week. How will treatment progress in absence of diagnosis? most patients have to visit private hospitals to have the ultrasound scan done," said Rajinder Singh, a Kotkapura resident."
"There is acute shortage of the radiologists in the state. Even in most of the community health centres ( about 40) in the state, there is hardly any such facility barring a few exceptional cases," said a source with the health department."
"Private hospital offer more salary, at about Rs 2 lakh per month compared to Rs 55,000 in government. In government hospitals, there are many other problems such as many kinds of duties and formalities and transfers," said a senior doctor at Faridkot.
Ultrasound scan facility is being provided at Rs 150 only in government hospitals, while private radiologists charge from Rs 500 to 800.
A specialist is required to conduct the ultrasound scan on a patient but by the medical specialists, who have acquired their qualification (MD, MS) after 2001, the test can be done on their specialisation branches only.
For those doctors who have post-graduation qualifications before 2001, it is allowed to do with a six months training, said a specialist at civil hospital Faridkot.
When contacted, Dr Baldev Singh Sahota, civil surgeon, Faridkot, said, "An ultrasonologist visits district hospital Faridkot for three days a week and a sonologist has been hired at the civil hospital. We try our best to cater the needs of the patients. There is a shortage of ultra-sonologists with the health department."