Uttarakhand: Fighting pandemic without 21.8% of sanctioned capacity of doctors
Dehradun: At the time when the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic has intensified, the Uttarakhand government is falling short of the doctors as against the total sanctioned strength of 2735 doctors only 2139 doctors—21.8 percent short — are working at the state-owned hospitals across the thirteen districts.
According to the state government records, Uttarakhand has over 51991 COVID-19 positive cases and recorded 669 deaths and a doubling rate of 50.67 days. In a response to an RTI filed by a Dehradun based social activist, Rakesh Bhartwal, the state government has given district-wise details of the number of doctors and their vacancies.
As per the state government's tabulated data dated 14 September, a copy with the Millennium Post, the Pauri Garhwal district which has 359 sanctioned strength of doctors and has a shortage of 103 doctors, followed by the Nainital district which has 332 strength of doctors and has a shortage of 98 doctors.
Not surprisingly, Dehradun has a sanctioned strength of 292 doctors and a shortage of only 5 doctors. The Almora district which is termed as the cultural capital of Uttarakhand has a total sanctioned strength of 286 but has a shortage of 68 doctors. Tehri district has a shortage of 30 doctors even as the district has a total of 229 sanctioned strength of doctors. The holy city Haridwar which is going to play host to Kumbh next year has a total of 214 doctors and has a shortage of 51 doctors.
The Uttarkashi district has 121 doctors and falls short of only 4. The Rudraprayag district which has revered the Kedarnath shrine, has 80 doctors and still needs 22 doctors to reach total sanctioned strength. The RTI reply also reveals that 93 doctors are habitually absent from the government duties.
The social worker Bhartwal said, "The RTI reply is very disturbing that the state is short of 21 percent of the actual strength of doctors in these difficult times of the COVID-19 pandemic which is taking a huge toll everywhere. By bringing these details in public domain my intention was to highlight this problem."