Banda. In Naraini block of Banda district, the biggest government hospital is hasn’t had a woman doctor on call for the last decade. The much publicised rural health mission and numerous schemes for women notwithstanding, the shortage of women doctors in continues to plague most government hospitals, especially in remote rural areas.
‘As it is we find it difficult to talk about gynaecological problems with male doctors, here we don’t have women doctors even to help us during child birth,’ says Phoola from Palhari village. ‘We have no other option. We just go to the Banda district hospital even though it is 48 kilometres away and costs us money,’ added Shanti.
In a recent survey conducted by Khabar Lahariya, it was discovered that at least 40% of the community health centres in Banda do not have women doctors. When CHC Superintendents were questioned they said that a big reason behind this shortage was the dearth of doctors at the district itself. The Health Superintendent for the Atarra Community Health Centre, Dr. B.K. Srivastav also said, ‘We have one woman doctor who is an orthodontist. There should be 2 more women doctors but when there aren’t enough in the District Hospital then how will block level hospitals fill up all the posts? We have written to the Chief Medical Officer. He has forwarded the request to the State but that is all he can do.’
Many rural women are forced to seek private medical help where a basic consultation costs anything from Rs. 100 to Rs. 500, and appointments are hard to come by. Some women also choose to let certain medical problems remain unattended due to the absence of women doctors.