Vijayawada: The advice issued by the state health authorities to expedite recruitment of doctors and other staff on contract basis to work at the District Early Intervention Centres (DEICs), for attending to the health of children and youths between up to 18 years, has drawn criticism from some doctors.
“How could this be done without adequate number of buildings and medical infrastructure,” asked these doctors, and claimed that this will result in payment of wages to contract staff without these staff being able to do any work.
The DEICs were set up as part of the Centre’s initiative under the Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram to facilitate early identification of defects of babies at birth, their deficiencies, diseases and delay in normal growth as also disability among children from birth to age 18 and initiate remedial measures.
The state has 34 DEICs and each centre will be having doctors and health staff ranging from 12 to 15. Of these, 18 are being run in old buildings while construction of buildings is in progress for the remaining 16 centres.
Top health officials have issued notes to the district medical and health officers to fill up all vacant posts in DEICs expeditiously and fixed a target of attending to 60 children per day in each DEIC.
The district health officials are in turn asking their subordinates to look for doctors and health staff to fill up the vacancies.
A senior doctor argued, “With no building to accommodate DEICs and no medical infrastructure in place, there is no point in recruiting doctors and health staff. They cannot attend to these children without any facilities. For instance, if a dental surgeon is recruited at a DEIC with no dental chair, how will it help? We are seeking completion of a part of these buildings and installation of requisite medical infrastructure before going in for recruitment.”
Another doctor said, “In some places where doctors and health staff were recruited, they were crammed into one or two rooms and asked to attend to children even without proper medical infrastructure. Moreover, the daily target of 60 children for a centre a day is difficult to achieve in tribal areas.”
RBSK state nodal officer Srinivasa Reddy explained, “We are taking up construction of buildings and recruitment of doctors and health staff simultaneously. By the time we the buildings are ready, the services can start. We have paid Rs. 10 crore to APMSIDC and they will call bids shortly to procure medical equipment.”