GUWAHATI, March 27 – The status of medical services for children is becoming a matter of concern in Assam even as the State Government seeks to expand its healthcare infrastructure. A severe shortage of human resource has undermined the Health Department’s attempts at improvement, and doctors and nurses are under stress as workload increases manifold.
Those acquainted with the prevailing situation fear that the challenges of providing healthcare services will only increase as new medical colleges and hospitals come up without the required number of doctors and nurses with specialised background in child care.
In Gauhati Medical College Hospital, the paediatrics department needs more doctors and nurses as it is seeing an increasing footfall in patients who are in need of both outdoor and indoor facilities. For reasons best known to the authorities, the department at present is functioning with only one Professor.
The staffing pattern appears odd because other departments in the same institution have at least two or three professors each. The situation has remained unchanged even after the government authorities concerned were informed about the situation on more than one occasion.
According to sources, the neonatal mortality in GMCH in 2010 was 17.6 per cent while childhood mortality stood at 11 per cent. It is no surprise that teaching of students as well as treatment offered to patients in the premier healthcare facility would have been far better if it had more senior doctors.
It is not just that scene is bleak in Guwahati, the situation is also serious in Silchar Medical College where neonatal and paediatric mortality rate is highest among the medical colleges of Assam. Last year between January and October, there were 320 neonatal deaths, which was 30.9 per cent of the total who were admitted to NICU.
Sources have also informed that the paediatrics department in the new medical college hospital is in a dismal state. Equipped with few doctors and nurses, it caters to an increasing number of patients who are often frustrated with the services being provided by the under staffed hospital.