The state government on Tuesday (January 15) said that it has issued the appointment orders to 921 Medical Officers. Health and Medical Education Department said that the addition will augment health care facilities in the rural and far flung areas of the state. As per H&ME department figures 540 medical officers will be posted in Jammu division in all the ten districts, while as 33 will be posted in Leh, 52 in Kargil and 306 in the nine districts of Kashmir division (which makes the count 931 instead of 921). The department claimed that the appointments have been carried on fast track basis in a record time of three months. There are some areas that the people of the state would like to know more about from the department and the state government. First of all, what are the criteria used by the government to ensure rationalization of health care officials with respect to different districts and particularly the far-flung areas? The health care facilities in the state in general and rural areas in particular do need a serious push and the addition of medical officers will certainly help the ailing sector. There ought to be equitable growth in the state and all districts should be equipped with quality health services, manpower and staff. Owing to the presence of premier tertiary hospitals of Kashmir in Srinagar, it is only fair that the district can’t be spotted in the list of postings of medical officers. The hospital administrations have often grumbled over the huge rush caused by referring the patients to these hospitals. It has been a long pending demand of many rural villages and far flung areas to have health care facilities, doctors and other health care officers within their reach or catchment area. Posting doctors and health care officers to such areas has been tedious job for the government as many officials have resisted and continue to resist such orders. Also the department must make it clear if the postings of the medical officers are permanent or are supposed to change in future. Strengthening the health care infrastructure in rural areas will require more facilities to be established there and doctors and other staff to be posted in these areas permanently. Strengthening of the primary health care centers in villages and rural belts will also help in reducing the burden on secondary and tertiary hospitals. However, the rationalization of available manpower must be the focus. Too many doctors in some hospitals and centers and none in others will affect the health services in the state.