60% shortfall in child specialists and gynecologists in Uttarakhand.
More than 50% shortfall in Specialist Doctors across Nine Districts in Uttarakhand.
11 districts do not have even a single psychiatrist, making access to mental healthcare difficult
Based on RTI data obtained by Dehradun based SDC Foundation, of total 13 districts in the state, nine districts have less than 5o% availability of specialist doctors. 51 out 13 districts do not have even a single psychiatrist, making access to mental healthcare a big challenge in the Himalayan state. 4 districts have reported zero availability of public health specialists at a time when country is preparing for the third wave.
Chamoli has only 17 specialists available against the approved 62 posts. Similarly, in Pauri, there only 42 specialist doctors are available as against the approved 152 posts. As against the approved 127 posts for specialist doctors only 49 are working in the district of Almora. On the other hand, only 22 specialist doctors are available against the approved 59 in the district of Pithoragarh.
The analysis by SDC Foundation shows that situation is extremely alarming in the district of Haridwar, which the largest district in terms of population in the state. Haridwar has only 40 specialist doctors against the approved 105 posts. This makes only one specialist available for more than 5o 000 people in Haridwar.
“Health department needs to review and re-evaluate the IPHS framework along with the Government of India. Nainital and Pauri have maximum number of approved positions despite having less population and medical facilities. We need to judiciously allocate our human resources and focus more in places where the burden on health facilities is more”, says Anoop Nautiyal, Founder, SDC Foundation.
There is also a severe shortage of child specialists and gynecologists in the state, as per the analysis prepared by SDC Foundation. The study shows that there is almost a 60% shortfall in the availability of these two specialist doctors in the state. “Accessibility is already a major challenge for women in hilly areas. Unavailability of female doctors will further exacerbate the issue and can impact the state’s performance on parameters like institutional deliveries, antenatal care, child nutrition etc.”, says Rishabh Shrivastava, Lead – Research and Communications, SDC Foundation.
“We have found that lot of specialist doctors have been deployed in administrative duties. This completely unacceptable. Right now, we need the services of these doctors more than ever. State should look into the policy of posting specialist doctors on the administrative duties and utilize their expertise in making the public health sector more robust and accessible in the state”, says Vidush Pandey, Member of the research study, SDC Foundation. The Foundation will release the final part of the study in the coming few weeks. SDC has also been closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation in Uttarakhand and advocating for other key public health reforms in the state.