Shortage of radiologists leaves patients in lurch

By Express News Service

RAJAMAHENDRAVARAM: East Godavari is facing a dearth of radiologists which is forcing many pregnant women in rural areas to rely on private hospitals. The district, which has reportedly 37,750 pregnant women, has 161 scanners, of which only 142 work. Only the hospital in Kakinada has a radiologist presently.  

Each of these machines, which were procured four years ago at a cost of `1-`2 lakh, were provided to 161 primary health centres and regional hospitals. However, due to the lack of the specialist doctors in rural areas, many women have to depend on private hospitals for treatment which is provided for free in government hospitals. It is learnt that except in GGHs at Kakinada and Rajamahendravaram and a few PHCs, other health centres refer pregnancy cases to private centres where a patient has to spend as much as `6,000 for scanning and digital imagery.  

When the scanners were procured, some doctors were trained to operate them and prepare reports accordingly. Since most of them have either been transferred or shifted to other departments, there are currently only a few who can operate them. Some doctors said the equipment that became un-functional due to their non-usage, and could not even be repaired.

Commenting on the issue, Dr T Ramesh Kishore, district co-ordinator of AP Vaidya Vidhana Parishad, acknowledged the problem.  

“At some centres, gynaecologists who are trained to operate the scanners treat the patients. At few others, some doctors also scan patients on their own. In such times, it has become inevitable in a few cases to send pregnant women to private hospitals.  We submitted a report on the issue to the higher authorities and hope to get a response soon.”

1 radiologist in entire district
The district, which has reportedly 37,750 pregnant women, has 161 scanners, of which only 142 work. Only the government general hospital in Kakinada has a radiologist presently.

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