The State government on Tuesday told the Bombay High Court that 146 posts of ayurveda and allopathy doctors to deal with malnutrition in tribal areas are vacant.
A Division Bench of Justices Naresh Patil and Girish Kulkarni directed the State to treat malnutrition as a disaster, and come up with a plan to tackle it.
The court was hearing a bunch of public interest litigations (PIL) about an increase in malnutrition cases in the interior of Maharashtra, especially Melghat. One of the PIL highlights the posts of anaesthetists, gynaecologists and paediatricians being vacant, which adds to the problem.
has a copy of the affidavit submitted by the State, which says that efforts are being made to attract MBBS doctors and specialists in the health
“A committee has been constituted under the chairmanship of the collector with powers to appoint regular medical officers. Medical officers are paid hardship allowances under the National Health Mission if they stay at a very remote health facility such as Gadchiroli and Melghat. One higher pay scale is given to doctors if they work in Naxal-affected areas. Medical officers are given an additional mark of 10% per year for postgraduate admission if they work in designated difficult areas. They are also required to serve in tribal areas for at least three years after PG,” the affidavit said.
Court seeks details
The court told the government pleader A.B. Vagyani to provide doctors incentives to work in tribal areas. The court also asked the State to provide details of medical camps in the tribal belt.
The HC wanted to know the number of doctors, medicines and facilities provided. It also asked the government how many students graduate from the private and government colleges every year.
Earlier, a report was presented by the Women and Child Development Department, which shows that 500 children die every year in Melghat, as against its population of three lakh. In 2013-14, the number of child deaths rose to 600 and in 2014-15, another 426 children died in just two blocks of Melghat.
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