No excuse that doctors, nursing staff not ready to go to rural areas: Gujarat HC calls for mandating rural service for doctors
Ahmedabad: Noting that the administration is struggling hard to deal with the rapid surge of Covid-19 cases in the rural areas, in absence of trained doctors, the Gujarat High Court on Monday suggested that rural service should be made compulsory for medical professionals.
This came while listening to a suo motu Public Interest Litigation (PIL) on COVID. During the hearing, the advocate general highlighted the challenge faced by the government in hiring trained doctors.
The High Court division bench comprising of Justices Bela Trivedi and Justice Bargav Karia, concerned about the rapid spread of the disease in rural areas also took note that adequate testing facilities were not available in the rural areas which ultimately resulted in delayed reports and delayed treatment.
Expressing concern over the issue of lack of trained medical staff, the bench observed,
"You have to make this compulsory. There is no excuse that doctors and nursing staff are not ready to go to rural areas. People in villages should not suffer only because you are not in a position to make this compulsory."
The court added that the government should also consider the telemedicine method to offer medical facilities in rural areas. It noted,
"You have to put your foot down anyhow. This is an epidemic and you can send teams of experts to rural areas or semi-urban areas."
The court further noted,
"You have to make them remain in rural areas for a week. They can train people because people in rural areas don't know how to put on oxygen masks, forget about anything else."
The Times of India reports that the bench also expressed its desire to learn the ground realities about the condition of the rural areas and refused to go by the figures as furnished by the government counsel.
"We want to know hard ground realities whether there is a facility of testing, availability of remdesivir and doctor and nursing staff," mentioned the bench further adding that the Court intends to learn about the condition of Primary Health Centre (PHCs) and Community Health Centers (CHCs) and the fact whether these healthcare facilities have enough medical staff and medicines.
Besides, the bench further expressed its desire to learn about the oxygen situation and vaccination program as well, adds the daily.
Addressing the government counsel's submission that the Government's focus is now on the rural areas as the districts are not in a good position, the Court directed the Government to submit the details of PHCs by the next date of hearing, i.e. May 24. "Whether they are on paper or really working," added the judges.
The Court also addressed the issue as to why the people belonging to rural areas were not aware of the fact that they are required to go for testing. The State, in response, submitted that the availability of testing facilities was widely publicized.
However, addressing this issue, Justice Karia noted,
"What is the effect? Every day, in each village, 4-5 people are dying and they don't know they are having Covid."