Health Ministry neglects regional hospitals in Jaffna

[TamilNet, Sunday, 30 August 2009, 05:04 GMT]
“No new appointments of medical staffers for the thirty-seven regional hospitals in Jaffna district have been made in the past twenty years,” Jaffna District Director of Public Health Service (DPHS), Dr. R. Ketheeswaran said. Only 50% of the medical staffers needed in Jaffna Teaching Hospital (JTH), which is administered by the Ministry of Health, have been appointed in the past, the Director said.

The 37 regional hospitals in Jaffna district which come under the administration of Public Health Service Department have been neglected by the Health Ministry where an acute shortage of medical staffers prevails for the last two decades, he further said.

This situation forces the 600,000 people of Jaffna district to seek medical treatment in JTH which is understaffed.

In most of the regional hospitals we have been forced to employ retired medical staffers, some of them over 70 years of age, Ketheeswaran said.

17 doctors are urgently needed to meet the needs of these 37 regional hospitals.

There are only 16 doctors serving in the regional hospitals while 88 doctors are needed.

Only a single Physical Health Inspector is in service when 12 are needed.

Similarly, in the posts of Registered Medical Practitioners, only 19 serve out of the 58 required.

Only 11 dispensers are in service while 28 are needed and only 2 Medical Laboratory Technicians are in service when 18 are needed.

Seven X-ray technicians are needed but only two are employed and when there is a need for 308 medical nurses only 70 are available.

While 351 Family Health Officers are needed only 141 are in service.

The reason for this acute shortage of medical staffers in the regional hospitals in Jaffna district is the disinterest shown by the Ministry of Health, Dr. Ketheeswaran said.

Government should take immediate steps appoint the needed medical staffers in the interest of the 600,000 population of Jaffna district, he added


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