Two Health and Wellness Centers (HWC) in the city, one in Khudda Lahora and the other in Dhanas village are currently operating without an MBA doctor and a pharmacist.
These HWCs, which are a crucial part of the primary healthcare system, had become even more crucial during the lockdown, since government hospitals were no longer offering OPD services to residents.
The alternate medical center turned HWC in Khudda Lahora has not had a doctor at least since the past eight months. The pharmacist posted at the dispensary had been handling daily OPD services, prescribing medicines for some basic diseases, and referring more serious patients to emergency services at PGI. “Since the lockdown, the number of people visiting the HWC had increased quite a bit because the OPD in PGI was closed. We had at least sixty patients a day,” said the pharmacist who was working at the dispensary until he was transferred to the Civil Dispensary at CITCO, last Saturday.
“Now, there is only a fourth-class employee attending to the HWC, who just comes to open the lock and closes it at the end of the day,” added the pharmacist.
The dispensary turned HWC in Dhanas village, located next to Kacchi colony, which was a Covid-19 containment zone until last week, hasn’t had a doctor since the transfer of the last doctor on February 27th. Since then, the pharmacist posted at the dispensary had been looking after the daily OPD until he was transferred to the makeshift dispensary inside Bapu Dham Colony on May 10.
At both these HWCs, the daily OPD numbers have increased since the lockdown, especially at the Dhanas village dispensary, ever since a few Covid-19 cases cropped up in the vicinity, making residents paranoid.
Under the Ayushman Bharat scheme, the UT health department aims to create a total of 52 HWCs, and claims to have created around 30 of these already; by changing existing dispensaries and sub centers into HWCs. These HWCs are supposed to offer a range of medical services at the level of primary healthcare. However, without adequate staff, delivering even basic primary care becomes impossible.
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