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Private sector no answer to doctors’ shortage

The editorial, “Doctors’ shortage: A greater private sector role can help” (Jan 5), wrongly points out that the solution to the shortage of doctors lies in greater private sector role. The inclusion of private sector in the healthcare has done more harm than good to a larger section of our population. According to The Annual Report to the People on Health 2010 of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, “At the time of Independence only about 8 per cent of all qualified modern medical care was provided by the private sector. But over the years the share of the private sector in provision of healthcare has increased to about 80 per cent of all out-patient care and about 60 per cent of all in-patient care.”

The report concludes that private sector’s prominence in health sector is the cause of inequalities in access to healthcare. Talented doctors from government hospitals are enticed by hospitals run by the corporates because they offer higher salaries. This creates a lacuna at the primary and secondary levels of our health care.

Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor, neatly hand-written or typed in double space, should not exceed the 150-word limit. These can be sent by post to the Letters Editor, The Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh-160030. Letters can also be sent by e-mail to: [email protected]

— Editor-in-Chief

The private sector always has an urban bias. It has led to the commercialisation of medical care. Moreover, the cost of medical education in private colleges is beyond the reach of a large strata of our rural population. Private colleges also suffer from the capitation fee system that is still prevalent in many medical colleges despite adverse court verdicts. So the private sector is a major hurdle in our way of achieving universal access to healthcare.

The solution lies in strengthening the public sector. The government should invest in health infrastructure, especially in public sector at all levels.

Dr RICHA VERMA, Panchkula


Indeed, our country is facing a grave shortage of medical teachers and there are feeble chances of improvement in future. The reason is simple. Unlike engineering graduates, the medical and dental graduates are offered low salaries by private hospitals and institutes. This leads to migration of medical/dental postgraduates to foreign countries. Sadly, our government is not serious about this problem.

The need of the hour is to fill vacant posts of postgraduate teachers in all medical and dental colleges. Big business houses can also play an important role in this direction by setting up well-equipped medical and dental colleges. They should employ highly qualified medical and dental professionals and offer a handsome salary to ensure the future of medical education in the country and to strengthen health care services which at present are in a dire state.


Sangat darshan

On January 2, at Mohali I attended Sangat Darshan held by Chief Minister of Punjab Parkash Singh Badal. I had never been to such a congregation earlier. I couldn’t get a hearing yet I was overwhelmed. A large number of people from the adjoining villages had turned up with problems/ grievances.

I realised how “aam admi” is facing problems and that the administrative machinery i.e. bureaucracy is oblivious, even callous, towards trivial issues of public at large. It also confirmed that they have more confidence in their Chief Minister vis-à-vis the executive which has become inaccessible, indifferent and insensitive. I developed an instant admiration for the octogenarian leader conducting a marathon session from 10 am to 4 pm tirelessly and patiently.

I suggest that in addition to the PCS level officials, all administrative secretaries too should be present during “sangat darshan” to answer and resolve the issues of the people on the spot. Though the Chief Minister was keen to address the common man’s problems, little does he realise that the same people will again have to revert back to officials for solutions. The real assessment of efficiency of administrative mechanism would be gauged when the turnout of individuals, delegations or educationists for such sangat darshans would be reduced to bare minimum. Only then it will reflect that the administrative mechanism has started functioning like well-oiled machinery.

Lt-Col BACHITTER SINGH (retd), SAS Nagar

Control prices

Since prices of essential commodities are rising with each passing day Sharad Pawar who is presently the Agriculture Minister of India must resign. The nation and its people are not being considered as supreme while governing the administration. There has been an acute shortage of onions and the prices of onions have gone beyond the reach of the common man. Earlier, a similar situation prevailed with respect to the prices of sugar.

The common man is not bothered as to who is governing the country. He is only concerned that he should get things of daily use at affordable prices. There is no dearth of capable persons to handle the situation.

The late Morarji Desai, on becoming the Prime Minister of India, told the administration to take steps so that the common man could get articles of daily use at reasonable prices. When Jawaharlal Nehru was the Prime Minister, there arose the problem of shortage of wheat in West Bengal due to hoarding and Rafiq Ahmed Kidwai took bold steps. Dharam Vira, Governor of Punjab, took bold steps in 1966 to control prices by ordering surprise raids. Why can’t Sharad Pawar take a cue from these examples and provide relief to the common man?

RAJ PAUL VIG, Ambala City



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