Serve rural areas! That’s an order

The Director General of Health has again reiterated that doctors should not be choosy and accept postings to rural areas.The question is why are doctors reluctant to take up this offer?

Firstly, the selection process for placement is not transparent. Some privileged few will get their way and remain in major city hospitals. Rural community medicine is an important experience for all doctors. Limiting your focus to hospital environments will only put blinkers on our perspective of medicine, preventing understanding medicine from a holistic and complete point of view.

Doctors who choose to serve rural areas should be allowed to continue their services and training in larger hospitals after a certain period. Career advancement opportunities at this moment for these doctors are currently non existent, leaving many exasperated when requests for transfer is flatly rejected. This aspect must change.

There should also be more assistance offered to doctors who are posted to rural communities. From accommodation to local community support must be activated for each doctor to these areas. This will make the doctors feel appreciated and more willing to accept an offer to these areas.

More studies need to be carried out to identify the cause of reluctance to serve rural communities. Authoritarian approaches to this issue will only drive doctors away and leave this long standing issue unresolved.