'Lack of specialists ups maternal deaths'

Last Updated 18 October 2013, 19:57 IST

Minister for Health and Family Welfare, U T Khader, has attributed the increasing maternal mortality rate (MMR) in India to lack of commitment by the doctors refusing to serve in rural areas.

“Government spends lakhs of rupees on doctors who study in state-run institutions. They do not realise that their studies are funded by taxpayers’ money. It is their duty to serve them back,” Khader said.

In a lighter vein, he said when an APL family visits a private hospital for treatment, the family becomes BPL after spending a lot on the treatment. 

The issue of increasing MMR came up at the fourth annual National Clinical Cardiology Update 2013, organised by the Indian Association of Clinical Cardiologists.

Dr Devi Prasad Shetty of Narayana Hrudayalaya raised the issue in his address saying that lack of specialists was the major reason for India having the highest MMR in the world.

“A woman dies during delivery ten minutes in India. The country produces 28 million babies every year of which 5.6 million babies are born through caesarean. The country needs at least 1.5 lakh gynaecologists, but there are only 40,000 gynaecologists working across government and private hospitals,” Dr Shetty said here on Friday. Dr Shetty suggested training health staff in handling emergency obstetric services, as a solution to arrest the raising MMR.

Advocating the need for courses which impart skills among health workers, Dr Shetty said trained nurses administer anaesthesia in 67 per cent of the cases in USA. He said Mozambique, most of the C-section operations are handled by trained ward boys with the consent of the government.

He made a special mention of the courses offered at the College of Physicians and Surgeons (CPS) which have been recognised by the governments of Gujarat and Maharashtra.  He said that Karnataka should also recognise such courses and encourage students.  

Detailed discussion

Reacting to the suggestion, Khader said the government was open to the suggestions made by Dr Shetty and it will have a detailed discussion on the matter.  

The minister also said the government was all set to start a dialysis centre at least in one taluk in each district.  The launch of the dialysis centres was delayed due to lack of availability of technicians, he added.
Clinical cardiologists want posts in government hospitals

The members of the Indian Association of Clinical Cardiologists (IACC) have urged the government to create posts of clinical cardiologists in the government hospitals.  

A member of the Association said Indira Gandhi National Open University launched a two-year diploma clinical course in 2006 and more than 1,800 graduates were available in the country, at least 150 of them in Karnataka alone.

 The member said that barring surgical intervention, a clinical cardiologist can attend to any heart patient and can prevent deterioration in the condition of the patient.

These graduates are qualified to perform echocardiogram (ECG) and treadmill test (TMT), but in most private and government hospitals, a person is trained to conduct these tests but is not qualified enough to sign on the reports.  

The clinical cardiologists, who are mostly working in a private set up, want the government to create vacancies in government hospital to ease the burden of the cardiologists.  

(Published 18 October 2013, 19:54 IST)

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