Shortage of doctors has hit the health care system in Lakhimpur district, affecting especially those belonging to the below poverty line category.
According to officials the district health services requires 105 numbers of doctors in its different hospitals and health centres but presently there are only 59 doctors in the State health sector in the district.
That means there is a shortage of 46 doctors in the district. The district has 24 vacancies in the posts of senior Medical and Health Officers (M&HO) including the District M&HO and SDM&O.
Similarly the district is short of 14 M&HOS, five Ayurvedic doctors and three dentists.
The shortage of doctors has been affecting the public health services in the district since 2017 as many serving M&HOs quit jobs for private sectors.
The North Lakhimpur Civil Hospital presently requires three senior M&HOs for which doctors assigned to different hospitals at various capacities have been deputed to meet the shortages.
For example the Deputy Superintendent of Telahi Model Hospital, Panigaon has been deputed as the Anaesthesiologist at NL Civil Hospital.
The senior M&HO of Narayanpur has been kept in deputation to the post of Radiologist at NL Civil Hospital while the senior H&MO of Laluk Model Hospital also kept in deputation in the same hospital in North Lakhimpur.
There are currently no doctors (M&HO) in five Primary Health Centres (PHC) — Dhalpur, Bihpuria, Nowboicha, Bogeenadi and Dhakuwakhona.
In Dhakuakhona sub-division there are five vacant posts of M&HOs in Dhakuwakhona Sub-Divisional Civil Hospital, two in Dhakuwakhona Community Health Centre and one in Dhakuwakhona Public Health Centre.
The Bogeenadi Model Hospital also has vacancies of three M&HOs, and one each in Ghilamora CHC, Katori Chapori, Kkuri-Pamua and Gharmora Micro Health Centres.
Similarly health centres in rural areas like Dejoo-Rampur, Harhi-Gobindapur, Bholabori, Borgola, Mohghuli, Phoolbari are running without any doctors.
In riverine health centres of the district like Bokulguri, Dorge, Zengrai-Singimari, Goroimari no doctors have been appointed so far.
Although World Health Organisation (WHO) has set the standard of one doctor against 1,000 populations, in Lakhimpur district the current ratio is 1:6000.
Poor people who come for free medical care at various hospitals and PHCs in the district hence are deprived of the same due to the shortages of doctors.
On the contrary, the private health care facilities mushrooming in the district are doing brisk business by taking advantage of the poor public health services.
However, according to locals, most of these private hospitals do not have any specialised health care systems and there are examples in which cancer patients are being attended by paediatricians.
Locals alleged that most of the private nursing homes do not follow the mandatory waste management norms and other basic guidelines.