Pune: Shortage of experienced hands, PCMC to seek help of retired civic doctors

Among the retired doctors are those who had worked successfully to tacke the H1N1 scare in 2009.

THE Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) has decided to seek help from retired civic and private doctors amid spread of COVID-19 cases.

“We are sending letters to retired doctors to join service on temporary basis to help keep the situation in check,” said Municipal Commissioner Shravan Hardikar on Wednesday. The PCMC chief said the action was being initiated on the directions of the state government. PCMC has so far seen 12 positive cases for coronavirus and home-quarantined 1,164 people.

Among the retired doctors are those who had worked successfully to tacke the H1N1 scare in 2009. “We are inviting them to take up the challenge as they have the experience of handling the situation,” Hardikar said.

In 2009-10, a team of doctors, including PCMC health chief Dr Nagkumar Kunachgi, Dr Rajshekhar Iyer, Dr Anand Jagdale, Dr Shyamrao Gaikwad, Dr Mangesh Panse, Dr Kamal Yadav, Dr Pramod Kulkarni, Dr Shrikant Shinde, Dr Hemant Chikhlikar among others had worked during the H1N1 scare. While Dr Nagkumar Kunachgi has passed away, others have since retired and taken up private practice.

Dr Rajshekhar Iyer, who was the director when the swine flu cases had caused major scare in Pimpri-Chinchwad, said, “If PCMC calls us to join them for the sake of people of Pimpri-Chinchwad, we are ready to take up the challenge. Ten years back, swine flu had thrown up a major challenge to our team. There were huge crowd of patients at our hospitals. Hundreds used to queue up for tests and treatments.”

Dr Iyer recalled how the doctors’ team had meticulously planned the entire operation back then. “We all gave our best and succeeded in controlling the HINI scourge,” he said.

He added that if PCMC approached them, the entire team would come forward to take up the challenge.

Dr Anand Jagdale, who headed the biggest 700-beded YCM hospital in Pimpri-Chinchwad for over two decades, said he had not received any letter yet. Dr Jagdale, who was part of Dr Iyer’s team during the swine flu scare, retired five years ago as PCMC health chief.

Meanwhile, a private doctor said he had seen a general circular from PCMC commissioner on IMA WhatsApp group urging doctors to join hands with the civic body. “All private doctors are busy in hospitals. I doubt they would heed PCMC’s call for a temporary two or three months,” he said.

With very few experienced doctors, the PCMC is also facing problems in getting doctors of their choice join duty. “Those who have been selected are refusing to take up the job in the current situation,” said PCMC medical chief Pavan Savale.

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