The dearth of doctors in health service department has badly affected the disease control, prevention and treatment work across the state among increasing cases of fever. The existing doctors’ force is based on the staff pattern which was decided in 1966.
According to Kerala Government Medical Officers Association (KGMOA) preferably the health department should have 8,000 to 9,000 doctors taking into account the huge work load in 1,250 hospitals including district, taluk and general hospitals.
Increase in staff strength has been a major request of the KGMOA because of the shortage of doctors in all categories including assistant surgeons, specialists and specialist (admn) cadre. With the currently employed doctors taking extra pressure because of the fever related patient rush, the health care services in many hospitals have been badly hit.
Apart from this, many doctors are being forced to work for 12 to 15 hours at a stretch. Most regular doctors are also handling administrative duties of DMO, DHS, additional directors and as a result heads of disease control programmes and their services towards public health sector have been curtailed. Moreover, specialists and general medics have inadequate experience in operational and management related work issues.
Though the health department had raised a unique administrative unit for non-specialist doctors, none is trained in public health issues. Even health and sanitation staff, ASHA workers who are responsible for basic disease prevention activities are over loaded with various other responsibilities.
Meanwhile, health minister K. K. Shailaja admitted that shortage of doctors had harmed the fever control methods across the state. She said the services of doctors from the private sector would be requested for owing to the surge in fever cases.