Health Department reeling under staff shortage

The Department of Health and Family Welfare in the district is reeling under shortage of staff.

Dakshina Kannada has 74 primary health centres (PHCs), of which, 63 have doctors. There are 11 vacancies. Of these 63 PHCs, 31 have regular doctors and 32 on contract basis, said District Health Officer (DHO) Dr Ramakrishna Rao.

Speaking further, the officer said, “Of the 32 contract doctors, 16 are MBBS doctors, while remaining are Ayush doctors. The PHCs at Dharmasthala, Indabettu, Koila, Tingaladi, Surathkal and Panaje do not have regular doctors. Deputed doctors visit these PHCs once in three days.”

Dr Rao said that Boliyar PHC has a vacancy. “The counselling is in progress and the post will be filled shortly,” he added.

The number of sanctioned junior women health assistants in Dakshina Kannada is 444. Of these, 346 are working. There is a vacancy of 98 posts.

“The Department is facing an acute shortage of male junior health assistants. Of the sanctioned 228 posts, only 48 are working in the district. There is a vacancy of 181 posts,” the officer admitted.

“Although the District Wenlock Hospital has a course for junior health assistants, we get candidates only from outside Dakshina Kannada. As a result, after working here for two years, they get transferred to their native places,” explained sources.

The department also has a shortage of lab technicians. Out of the 80 sanctioned posts, only 52 are functioning in the district.

There is a huge vacancy of junior pharmacists in the PHCs and CHCs in the district.

Out of 87 sanctioned posts, only 27 are working – there is a vacancy of 60 posts in the district.

Following the outbreak of dengue in July in Mangaluru, junior health assistants working in different parts of the district were deputed in Mangaluru to clear mosquito breeding sites. With the heavy rain causing devastation in different parts of the district, junior health assistants have been sent back to their place of posting.

Now, the source clearance work has been entrusted to 60 multi-purpose workers. Students from nursing colleges and a few other institutions to have joined hands in the drive. A total of 10 supervisors oversee their work.

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