An IAS officer has hit upon a novel idea to rope in doctors to combat the menace of malnutrition in tribal areas, by offering them ‘weekend getaways’ at hotels in those places.
Raigad district collector Dr Vijay Suryawanshi, who mooted the concept, said the aim was to make the doctors conduct health camps in hospitals in the tribal areas on weekends and as an incentive have free stay in local hotels.
“We tried this concept in the Matheran hill station region. Now, hotel associations in Matheran and Karjat in the district have agreed to provide free rooms for doctors to stay over the weekends,” he said.
Karjat tehsil is a ‘weekend getaway’ destination where a number of celebrities also have their farmhouses.
The area, which is equidistant from Mumbai and Pune, has seen a rise in cases of malnutrition but like many small towns, it faces a perennial shortage of specialist doctors to cater to its over two lakh population.
“The idea is to have doctors from Mumbai and Pune to drive down in groups to conduct camps in Karjat’s sub-district hospitals on Saturdays and Sundays. In return, they will get gratitude and free stay in local hotels,” Suryawanshi said.
The concept of roping in doctors on weekends originated after the collector came to known about the death of a girl due to malnutrition at Morewadi in Karjat tehsil in November 2017.
In February this year, Suryawanshi convened a meeting of senior health officials and directed that 90 Village Child Development Centre (VCDCs) be launched in the tehsil to fight malnutrition.
An NGO, which works in Raigad district in the field of maternal and infant mortality, has also asked doctors from Mumbai and Pune to volunteer to spend a weekend serving people in Karjat.