Ayush doctors' cup of woes

Dr Prashanth (name changed), an ayurvedic practitioner who was posted in a Primary Health Centre (PHC) in the rural areas of Mandya district said that the challenges he  had to face were innumerable.

From the pay to the treatment and the posts that were offered, he was discriminated at every step, he said.

However, this is not the case with Dr Prashanth alone, but scores of other AYUSH doctors.

Dr Prashanth who spoke to Deccan Herald said that it was a service motive that drove him to take up the job.

“This is one post that was lying vacant since long as no one wanted to live in the remote place. When we all take an oath that we would serve the people all life long, it was only fair to stand by it,” he said.

However, he said that he regretted the same as there existed discrimination at every level.

Alleging that there existed disparity, from the way they were paid, he said “Gradually, I realised that Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani,  Siddha and Homeopathy (Ayush) doctors were treated indifferently.”

Statistics obtained from the Department of Health and Family Welfare revealed that there were 610 Ayush doctors working in PHCs across the State, under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM).

As many as 30 of them have been appointed against the posts of MBBS Doctors. H C Ramesh, project director, NRHM said that allopathy doctors were paid anywhere between Rs 25,000 to 30,000 and Ayush doctors were given Rs 14,000 monthly.

No work-stations

“I also know of doctors who have not even been given work-stations while their allopathy counterparts work inside cabins of their own. Ayurvedic and homeopathy doctors are only given tables and minimal facilities. This difference has been there since long. Even as discussions regarding the matter happen, no conclusions are reached to,” he said.

Another Ayush doctor from a PHC in Mysore said that they were expected to work over time.

“We are asked to be ready to work all day long or asked to leave. When allopathy doctors refuse to turn up, we are asked to continue our routine shift and do additional ones. When we are told that medicines are out of stock, we are told that its is not worth an investment to make and asked to refer the patients elsewhere,” he said.

An official from the Department of Ayush who spoke on the condition of anonymity said that it was the case with most Ayush doctors serving in rural areas.

Discrimination

“While on one hand, they are pushed to places where no allopathy doctors are willing to go, they are also treated with disrespect,” the official said.

He added that in most cases, it was evident that Ayush doctors were asked to perform tasks that link workers do.  

He also spoke about the disparity with respect to the pay.

“Ayush doctors are paid just half the amount that allopathy doctors are given. They neither have job security. While they are appointed against the post of an MBBS doctor, they are told that they will have to vacate once a specialist is willing to work,” the official said.


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