Kangra, Mar 17 : The aphorism 'Health is Wealth' underscores health as real wealth on the earth, which can be served as an analogous to India's health system that has remained country's crucial parameters since time immemorial.
But the Anti-Retroviral Treatment (ART) centres in Himachal Pradesh have a different story. They grapple with severe shortage of medical attention and few health professionals, sources said. With the initiation of ART, medications that treat HIV infection, in 1987 and subsequent medical advancements, the Acquired ImmunoDeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) has gone from a devastating epidemic to a manageable chronic disease.
However, the benefit of the advances were not really passed on to the needy due to sloppy implementation of National AIDS Programme, sources added. Twenty years after the first case of AIDS came to light in 1992 from Hamirpur, life of patients hangs in abysmal with the centres running without doctors.
The ART centre at Dr Rajinder Prasad Govt Medical College (Dr RPGMC) at Tanda, patients are being treated by nurses. Though national guidelines exist to treat patients, most of the deaths are from opportunistic infections that has leading to high death rates among AIDS patients in the state, sources claimed.
The Medical officer resigned in May 2012 after getting better paid placement under TB control programme. Since then the post is lying vacant. As per sources, the salary is low, hence even if advertised, the likelihood of doctors being available is low.
While speaking to media persons, RPGMC Principal Dr Bhanu Awasthi confirmed that the post is lying vacant for last so many years however Dr Gurudutt Nodal officer of medicine department has been given additional charge to look after ART center.
He said that this was purely a temporary and transitory arrangement for the service of the AIDS patients. Doctors in the department on the conditions of anonymity told UNI that in the present scenario ECHS clinics which provide healthcare of ex-servicemen pensioners and their dependents pay retired doctors salary of Rs 75,000 per month for MBBS and 87,500 for specialists at joining and the new Medical officers also not willing to take such posts, as they don’t get any benefit for Post graduation.
These doctors said that presently AIDS patients with poor immune status have to go to crowded medicine OPD with risk of catching infection. There are over 1,100 AIDS patients in the state whose lives are in peril for want of specialized medical care at the centres.
The doctors needed for screening opportunistic infections, lack of which leads to high death rates, sources said, adding that medical professionals’ recruitments to these centres would bring light to the darkness. (UNI)