Telangana spends a huge chunk of money on healthcare, but public healthcare institutions in the state remain severely understaffed, according to a new study by Azim Premji University titled ‘State of Working India 2019’.
Among south-Indian states — including Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu — Telangana has the highest percentage of shortfall in personnel at public healthcare centers and community healthcare centers, said the report, which used Warangal as a sample town in the state.
The shortfall at public healthcare centres was 10.29 per cent, and that in community healthcare centres was a massive 40.63 per cent.
Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, meanwhile, do not have any shortfall in public healthcare centres, while AP has a 4.18 per cent shortfall. As far as CHCs are concerned, Kerala and Tamil Nadu have no shortage, while AP and Karnataka have shortfalls of 35.45 per cent and 36.8 per cent respectively. The figures published in the study are from 2016-2017.
Superintendent of Fever Hospital Dr K Shankar said, “Currently, 5 per cent of the hospital’s nursing positions are vacant, and there is a 10-20 per cent shortage of attendants and support personnel.”
The Indian Medical Association’s (IMA) Telangana president, Dr B Prathap Reddy, concurs that the lack of personnel in rural areas leaves room for quacks, RMPs and PMPs, degrading the quality of healthcare.
Meanwhile, Telangana’s per capita public spending on health in 2015-2016 was `1,322 — the second-highest among the five south-Indian states. Kerala spent the most — `1,463.
The study noted that while the per capita public spending can indicate a state government’s priorities, it alone does not present the full picture.
“Even though no one state may appear to be a perfect model that can be emulated along all dimensions, what is clear from the foregoing evidence is that there are benefits from expanding public healthcare facilities, improving their accessibility and quality to cater to the needs of all citizens,” – THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS