Pune: While the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) is boasting about Pune becoming a Smart City by implementing important projects like round the clock water supply and Pune Metro, its health department is in complete shambles. Out of total nine posts of top medical officers, seven are vacant and the entire administration of the health department is dependent only on two assistant medical officers.
This situation became grimmer after the head of the department Dr ST Pardeshi retired on May 31 this year and since then the post of chief medical officer of health is also lying vacant. The post of head of the health department is crucial as the officer is responsible for taking all major administrative decisions and if needed, to chalk out a plan for controlling the communicable disease in case of any outbreak.
The PMC has total nine posts of senior medical officers including chief medical officer and three deputy medical officers. But at present, all four top posts are vacant and out of five assistant medical officers’ posts, three are vacant and the entire department is being managed by the remaining two assistant medical officers only.
At present, Dr Vaishali Jadhav and Dr Anjali Sabane are looking after all sub-departments related to Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act, finding and taking actions on bogus doctors, controlling vector-borne and communicable diseases, slaughter houses, dog and pig control programme, birth and death registration department, crematoriums, health scheme for urban poor, disposal of bio-medical waste, national health mission schemes, licences, maternity homes and dispensaries run by the PMC.
Dr Jadhav has been entrusted with work of issuance of licences, strict implementation of PCPNDT Act, vector-borne deceases, veterinary department, birth and death registration and all hospitals and dispensaries run by the PMC to provide medical facilities to the over 35 lakh population of the city while Dr Sabane has been asked to look after health schemes for urban poor, mayor’s fund for medical help, medical unit, national health schemes and medical stores.
The posts of medical officers are vacant when there is a threat of an outbreak of communicable diseases against the background of the ongoing monsoon season. Moreover, the menace of stray dogs and pigs keeps continuing along with breeding of mosquitoes.
Shockingly, the posts are still vacant despite PMC relaxing the rules related to the educational qualification of candidates applying for the post of chief medical officer and deputy medical officer in January this year. The decision was taken by the General Body of the PMC.
Earlier, the educational qualification for recruitment of chief medical officer and deputy medical officer was MD and PSM but due to lack of candidates, the PMC replaced the qualification with MBBS and Diploma in Public Health to get more candidates for the post. But the civic administration did not forward the proposal of changed recruitment rules to the State government for seeking its approval and filling up the vacant posts in the interest of the citizens of Pune.
Meanwhile, the civic administration wrote two letters to the State government requesting it to depute an officer on the post of the chief medical officer but nothing happened.
When Sakal Times tried to contact Municipal Commissioner Kunal Kumar, he did not respond to the call to comment on the issue.