Under the aegis of Assam's current health minister, Himanta Biswa Sarma, the healthcare ecosystem of the state has undeniably witnessed several path breaking initiatives and made progress. One such initiative is that all MBBS graduates have to mandatorily serve for a stipulated period in rural areas.
As a consequence, people from villages and interior areas have access to qualified doctors. However, now the government has announced a benefit for all MBBS graduates serving at COVID Counselling Centres that might unsettle the rural health ecosystem. Going forward MBBS doctors who serve at COVID counselling centres shall have to spend less time in rural service.
The number of doctors in service has been well outnumbered by the number of people who have contracted the virus and have undergone treatment.Fit Northeast spoke to a couple of Guwahatians to gauge their views. "Doctors are definitely making a worthy contribution to the pandemic but it is nothing but their duty. I feel extending too many extra privileges at the cost of jeopardizing the already established general healthcare system is not desirable," says a citizen on condition of anonymity. Raktim Bharali however, lauded the benefit. "Since the outbreak of the pandemic the government, both at the centre and state, has relied heavily on the health workers and doctors. The number of doctors in service has been well outnumbered by the number of people who have contracted the virus and have undergone treatment. This in itself is a reminder that the doctors are stretching beyond their limits. So such benefits announced by the health department are welcome and required."
Incidentally, the government of India has also requested volunteer doctors who are fit and willing to serve the nation to come forward in these trying times. This includes MBBS graduates, retired government doctors, doctors who have retired from the armed forces, among others.