Monday, March 1, 2021

Unhealthy system

We are today witnessing an unspeakable stink in the health care scenario in our State. The authorities appear to have hog tied its responsibilities unmindfully and failed to delve deep into the sorry state of affairs prevailing in rural area of the state. No doubt, the rural belt has district hospitals, sub-district hospitals, primary health centers, vast network of dispensaries and other medical aid centers strewn all across. Yet, patients from nook and corner of the state continue to flock to Dimapur or Kohima for getting proper treatment. Of all the patients that get admitted in these two major cities, majority belong to rural belt. Death ratio between rural patients and urban patients is more for rural patients, although no definitive data is available. These force every sane soul to contemplate why has health service gone that much dangerously wrong in rural belt? The reasons are hundred and one. On one hand, many doctors keep piling degree after degree but get emaciated for want of a government job where as on the other, those who already have made it to government jobs feel upbraided and penalized in case posted in some rural area. Yet half a dozen district hospitals and a score plus sub-district hospitals play pivotal role in providing basic health care facility, but there is lack of proper management coupled with non availability of specialist doctors in the health care centers. In most of these ill equipped hospitals doctors are posted randomly and no special criterion is groped for. Some time there could be a specialist surgeon, who is too crafty to carry out major surgeries or even sensitive surgeries related to kidneys or prostrate, but non availability of an anesthetist makes him to eat humble pie. Similarly a neuro-physicians, cardiologist, diabatalogists could be posted in these health care centers, but they either have to treat common cold, aches and pains or have to resort to yawning out of boredom. Availability of basic equipments in these hospitals could have curtailed the rush of such type of patients with moderate type of this sort of maladies to Dimapur or Kohima. At the same time, most of the doctors posted at these basic medical care centers either make a surprise visit once in a blue moon to these centers or unashamedly ask the patients who trek down to some sub-district hospital for so called specialized treatment about the latest happenings in and around their place of posting. This grim scenario come crushing on the desperate lot all around rural belt forcing them go hands down to secondary or tertiary care units in Dimapur or Kohima. The pell-mell that is created by this torrential flow of patients into these hospitals turn the whole patient care topsy-turvy, a specialist who, literally is supposed to see 20-30 patients in OPD has to gambol with 100-200 precarious souls. Such a situation makes the particular specialists to go for cursory looks and symptomatic treatments, misdiagnosis, mal-treatment, delay in treatment, becomes the hall mark in the long run. On the other side of the fence are the moral preachers and armchair philosophers sitting in the comfort of their air-conditioned ivory towers hitting out at sincerity of government doctors working in the most humiliating conditions. These self-styled pallbearers of morals first get every penny and perk under the sky for them and then start preaching ethics to others. They lack insight into the working conditions of doctors in government hospitals as they hardly ever visit them, leave aside spending a night in a general or emergency ward. For a mild itch on their back, they take the first flight out of the State and very often return with a prescription of an ointment costing barely Rs 20. Subsequently their claim for medical reimbursement runs into tens of thousands. These people need to go into the horrible circumstances that doctors in government hospitals work in. Today the miserable working conditions are making it difficult for doctors to work efficiently. This eventually affects the quality of patient care. If the downslide continues, there is a foreseeable chance in future for a serious breakdown in efficient health care system due to inability of doctors in government sector to function normally. Need of the hour for the government is to delve deep into the problem so that the already mauled community is saved from further marauding.