The Meghalaya government is facing a shortage of doctors even as the number of COVID-19 cases is increasing at a rapid rate in the state, an official said.
The state government had given advertisement for filling up the vacant posts of doctors, but very few turned up, the official said.
“There is a shortage of more than 100 doctors as per the present vacant posts. The health department could not even get 50 doctors to appoint on a contractual basis for tackling the COVID-19 situation,” Health Services director Aman War said.
“We have advertised for the post of doctors in the state as well as outside the state but no one had come forward (to apply),” he said.
According to the senior health department official, there are over 800 doctors in different government hospitals, Community Health Centres (CHCs) and Public Health Centres (PHCs) across the state and all are actively working to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
The shortage is mainly due to the fact that many doctors are refusing to work in state government hospitals after completing their medical education, he said.
Many of them have paid the bond amount for not working in state government hospitals after completing their medical education in the state, he said.
“Over Rs 3 crore was collected as bond amount penalty from such doctors in two years,” Mr War said. He said, the bond amount has been increased to Rs 30 lakh but still many doctors are not joining state government hospitals.
Meghalaya on Monday reported 52 new COVID-19 cases, taking the state’s count to 1,114, officials said. Of the total 1,114 COVID-19 cases, 610 are active as 498 people have recovered from the disease and six have died.