Health Minister K.K.S.S.R. Ramachandran of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu told the Legislative Assembly on March 28 that doctors were reluctant to join duty in the relatively backward pockets of the state.
Consequently as many as ten districts went without proper medical care, he noted.
Despite consistent attempts by the government to fill up vacancies, doctors appointed would simply not go to backward regions as they would not compromise on their lifestyle.
The minister also told reporters that the Health Department was studying the way communicable diseases spread and taking pre-emptive measures to contain them.
As part of the initiative, adequate stocks of medicines needed to combat water-borne diseases and common summer diseases had been sent to district warehouses of the Tamil Nadu Medical Services Corporation.
"From now on, there will be no shortage in the event of an outbreak of any known diseases. The headquarters in Chennai will have ample stock of medicines and the districts are being supplied based on their requirements and past disease patterns," minister Ramachandran said.
Disease outbreaks in neighbouring states were also being closely monitored, the minister added.
Already the state is implementing the multi million dollar World Bank-aided Health Systems Project, aimed at improving the infrastructure in all the district and sub district hospitals. They are being provided with new buildings and all necessary equipment. All the health institutions are also being linked to a comprehensive health management information system.
But all such efforts prove inadequate when the much needed doctors cannot be found to manage the newly developed resources. And it is the poor, especially those in remoter regions, who suffer in the process, it is pointed out.