Sindh Chief Minister (CM) Syed Qaim Ali Shah said on Saturday that people were turning towards quacks especially in rural areas, where doctors were not willing to work.
“Doctors are not willing to serve in rural and suburban areas of the province where their presence is required most. It is the doctorsí responsibility to serve wherever they are posted to help suffering humanity,“ he said while addressing the oath-taking ceremony of the PMAñSindh office-bearers for 2011-2013 at the PMA House.
The chief minister pledged to increase allocations for health and education as well as an increase in the salaries of doctors beginning next fiscal.
He also urged the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) to assist the government in making doctors available to rural health centres and hospitals in the province.
Shah said the non-availability of experienced doctors and medical specialists in the public healthcare centres even in the suburban areas had appeared to be a major problem.
He claimed that if the doctors were transferred or appointed to rural health centres, Taluka hospitals or semi-urban areas, the administration was approached with recommendations from influential people to reverse the transfers.
“This situation is causing immense problems for the government as well as people of rural and suburban areas where private healthcare facilities are also not available. People are ultimately compelled to rely on quacks for their healthcare needs,“ he added.
The chief minister claimed that many doctors were not even ready to serve at the Lyari General Hospital, which was within the city and at another well-equipped hospital in a city like Sukkur.
“The government is committed to resolving issues facing doctors, including an increase in their salaries, benefits, timely promotions as well as promotions, but they should also cooperate with the government in performing their duties with honesty and dedication.“
On directives from President Asif Zardari, the Sindh government had constituted a committee comprising the finance minister, the health Minister and the vice-chancellors of different medical universities to look into the service structure of doctors and present its recommendations, he said.
Speaking on the occasion, Health minister Dr Sagheer Ahmed requested the CM to provide security to doctors who performed their duties amid the worst conditions and situations, but despite that they were often roughed up and thrashed by angry mobs.
Earlier, President PMA Central Dr Tipu Sultan administered oath to the newly-elected office-bearers of the association.