Rashmi Rekha Das

Most consider doctors next to God, if not God. That is why patients always want to get treated by doctors when they fall ill. But what happens when pharmacists start attending patients instead of doctors. 

Kendrapara-based Radhanath Rath hospital is one such hospital which is being run by pharmacists. Though it sound strange, it’s true. This 20-beded hospital at Olabhara in Kendrapara district has no doctors.

According to sources, residents of Olabhara depend on this hospital for healthcare services. Though the hospital has a requirement of four doctors, currently it has none. As a result, pharmacists can be seen attending patients during day time and the hospital remains closed during night in the absence of doctors. 

Earlier, one doctor was posted at Radhanath Rath hospital but he got transferred in the month of November. Following his transfer no doctor has been posted to attend patients.

Moreover, there are four posts for staff nurses, but only a single staff nurse has been appointed.    

Prasanjit Behera, a local resident, said “OPD remains closed after 12 pm here. Also, the delivery ward remains shut always. Besides, utilization of beds is zero. The root cause of all these lapses is that there are no doctors in the hospital.”

Sushant Nayak, a social worker said, “Pharmacists open the hospital for eight hours which is why the hospital remains closed during night time. As a result, people of this locality are deprived of healthcare services during night hours.”

Despite repeated pleas by the residents, the district administration has allegedly turned a blind eye to the issue.  

Pharmacist Amal Pal who attends patients at the hospital said, “Following the transfer of doctor, no doctor has been posted by the state government. As people of 10 panchayats depend on this hospital, we try our best to provide health services to the needy as per our capacity.”   

Doctor Sachitananda Mishra, Assistant District Medical Officer of Kendrapara said, “The state government has issued notification for recruitment of 3,500 doctors. They may join in two months. If we get any doctor who will be ready to work on contract before government posting, we will depute that doctor at Olabhara hospital.”

Report by Banamali Sahu, OTV