If doctors and nurses do not get over their fascination with paracetamol, students may soon stop visiting the university health centre. The assumption is not far fetched at all going by the revelations in a survey conducted by the Science Communication students of Department of Communication in 2009.
The survey, titled ‘Health and the campus community’, was carried out among 90 campus residents which include students (54), teachers (18) and non teaching staff (18). The complaint about health centre staff considering paracetamol being the solution for all health troubles came up mainly from students. While a faculty member also commented that medicines should be bought on the basis of quality, not cheapness, the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) had a different story to tell. He explained that there are Government of India rules and regulations to be followed while procuring medicines and the system cannot be compared with Apollo’s. “We have to buy basic medicines ordered by the ministry and do not have the freedom to buy what they call ‘fancy drugs’; B Complex for example,” he said.
Most of the respondents opined that the health centre is fit only for tackling minor illnesses. The CMO also reaffirmed that our health centre is only a primary health care unit and should be expected to fulfil only reasonable responsibilities. “That is why we have a referral system,” he said. However, one respondent also alleged that a particular doctor in the health centre demanded commission from the city hospital he was referred to.
Another shocking revelation apparent in the responses of the non-teaching staff was, “Doctors treat workers in a particular manner and students and teachers in a better way.” One professor seemed to agree that as a faculty member he was privileged to better health care at the health centre.
One of the most popular suggestions for improvement was that doctor facility should be made available round the clock. The lack of a dentist was also a matter of concern to many because dental services are very expensive outside, in the city.
Also, everyone seemed to agree that the health centre needs to work on its Public Relations. The public, in this case, may be a group as small as the campus community, but there is a need for them to know about the available facilities. With no improvement in PR, the situation best illustrated by an M.Phil scholar is likely to remain at status quo,“I know of research scholars who have been here for more than five years and have no clue about how the health centre can be useful!”