According to Karnataka Health and Family Welfare Secretary, E.V. Ramana Reddy it’s the lack of doctors and not funds that’s the biggest hurdle for providing healthcare in the state. Speaking at the inauguration of a conference on ‘Innovative and sustainable healthcare management: strategies for growth’, organised by the All-India Management Association (AIMA) in the city on Tuesday, Mr Reddy said although the government was doing all it could to attract doctors to government service, it was in vain.
Lack of specialists
The health minister said that of the 5,500 docs in the health department 2,500 are General Duty medical Officers. There was a scarcity of specialist docs. While the department has a vacancy for 600 specialists only 252 applied. Of these 137 came for counselling and only 72 joined. Eight docs however left after getting rural postings.
This is in sharp contrast to the private sector where more than 6,000 would apply for 600 posts.
The Principal Secretary added that “Healthcare in itself is very complex and to make it sustainable for 1.2 billion Indians is a huge challenge. We are fighting with the diseases of both developed countries — lifestyle diseases like cancer, diabetes, hypertension — and underdeveloped countries like malnutrition, tuberculosis and other communicable diseases. We need to have convergence with the departments managing sanitation, nutrition and drinking water.”
The conference had over 180 participants who discussed the challenges faced by the healthcare sector in the country.
Preetha Reddy, conference chairperson and Managing Director of Apollo Hospitals Enterprises Ltd., said that healthcare providers needed to go beyond their traditional boundaries and thought process to provide better healthcare services “The challenges are large and the danger of not tackling the menace of the disease burden in the country innovatively will have far reaching and disastrous consequences,’’ she said.