981 Vacancies for doctors, a timely decision
BPSC has credibility but lacking in capacity to recruit doctors
Balochistan government deserves to be appreciated for the approval of 981 vacancies for male, female doctors and dental surgeons to cope with the prevailing coronavirus crisis in the province. However, the recruitment process needs to be streamlined and timely since the present Balochistan Public Service Commission (BPSC) has credibility but lacking in capacity to make sure timely recommendations of doctors.
The commission has only two members with one chairman who is about to retire soon. The appointment of the new chairman seems to be a major challenge before the chief minister Balochistan, Jam Kamal Khan-led the government. So is the appointment of members of the commission. Since such important appointments in a political, coalition governments are no easy task.
Improvement of health facilities and the health sector has been always a longstanding demand for the common man. Successive governments in the past have failed to improve the health sector, leaving the masses of the province at the mercy of private clinics and private hospitals.
In a post-coronavirus crisis, approval of 981 vacancies 449 for males and 447 for female doctors appears to be light at the end of the tunnel. This recruitment, if conducted fairly and timely will help in the improvement of health facilities in general and the health sector in particular in Balochistan. The health sector paints a bleak picture in rural Balochistan as most of the basic health units and rural health centers are yet to be made functional.
With the appointment of doctors, the health department would be able to make basic health units, rural health centers located in far-flung areas of Balochistan functional. This would help in the provision of health facilities to the masses of the province at their door-steps.
The entire population of Balochistan including Afghan refugees from volatile SouthWestern Afghanistan is dependent on hospitals of Quetta in terms of treatment. This is indeed a burden on limited health facilities in Quetta.
Apart from this, the government needs to make the doctors bound to serve in their home districts for at least three years after their appointments in an attempt to treat the patients. No attachment, no political interference for transfer and postings should be allowed in this regard. The track record shows that everyone from the doctor to the teacher and clerk to officer wants to serve in Quetta.
This policy would help in reduction of burden on government-run hospitals in Quetta and providing the masses of the province in far-flung areas in the context of health facilities. Long distances, rugged mountains and poor communication systems make it very difficult for the patients to get timely treatment in Balochistan. If a doctor is available in a village or union council, it will help the people to get timely and qualified treatment. This will also discourage the quakes from operating with impunity in rural Balochistan.
Indeed, this step on the part of Jam Kamal led government is praiseworthy. Moreover, the doctors need to be appointed on merit and timely so that they could serve the people of Balochistan at a time when the novel coronavirus has spread across all continents and territories of the globe.