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Services at PHCs in Telangana turn inaccessible for poor

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Inkeshaf Ahmed
Provision of basic healthcare services at Primary Healthcare Centers (PHC) in Telangana are turning out to be inaccessible for the poor and needy people, especially those living in rural areas of the state.

Lack of proper supervision by authorities concerned has become the biggest problem in way of  primary healthcare services to the people. Some doctors working at the PHCs are turning up for their duties very late causing much inconvenience to the villagers who visit the PHCs for treatment.

This shocking truth came to light during a recent visit of the district collector of Jayasankar Bhupalapalle district to a PHC located in Kataram village of the district  The collector went to the PHC to find out about the treatment being given to 30 people who had been injured in a bus accident. The collector was shocked to find that there was no doctor to treat the patients at the PHC.

Angered at this, he immediately asked the higher ups of the health department of the state to issue show cause notice to the two doctors of the PHC. Another IAS officer, who is the Project Director of Utnoor ITDA, also faced a similar situation at a PHC in his jurisdiction. He immediately asked the officials to issue show cause notices to the doctors concerned.

The callous attitude of the doctors of the PHC is clearly visible despite the fact that the state government has taken several steps to strengthen the PHCs. It filled up the vacancies of 521 doctors for the PHCs last year. It also increased the funds allocated for the procurement of medicines at the PHCs. The state government has also increased the number of medicines being given to the patients at the PHCs.

The medicines has gone up from 156 to 220 different types of medicines. Besides, the state government has also equipped all the PHCs with modern and sophisticated equipment to serve the patients even in remote villages of the state.

Despite this, the PHCs are not working as per the expectations of the Telangana government. According to the officials of the health department, each PHC will get Rs.1.75 lakh per annum for the maintenance of the hospital. The amount so sanctioned will also be used to take up different types of development works at these PHCs.

The amount is directly credited into a PHC Development authority bank account. However, the official statistics suggest that the medical officers of these PHCs are not able to spend more than 50 percent of the total funds in majority of the PHCs.

What is more shocking is the fact that 80 percent of the annual funds allotted to some PHCs are getting lapsed due to their non-utilization before the deadline fixed by the state government. The state has a total 740 PHCs. Of these, 250 are set up to function round the clock for the convenience of the people living around them.

60 percent of the PHCs of the state have only one doctor to serve the patients. Ten percent PHCs of the state have three or more doctors. The PHCs still have 350 regular vacancies of doctors.


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