The number of patients suffering from neurological disorders is increasing by the year, but the number of neurological centres and expert neurologists has not increased.  The rich can afford to go to big cities for treatment but the poor and rural people are hard hit by the lack of neurological care. Only a handful of hospitals in major cities have nerulogists and the disrict hospitals do not have any expert or even department to treat neurological disorders. The rural poor have to go to big cities in search of experts, reported Kannada Prabha.

There are over 6 lakh epilepsy patients in the State and over 3 lakhs of them do not get treatment or medicines. In Bengaluru City for every one crore population there are over 1 lakh suffering from epilepsy.  One among 100 is suffering from epilepsy and Parkinson's.  Of the total population, one third is suffering from various kinds of neurological disorders.  Stroke, epilepsy, headache, Parkinson, brain tumour, amnesia and other age related neurological complaints are reported. However, neurologists to treat them are in great demand and few in number.

In NIMHANS, Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospital, Victoria Hospital and other high tech hospitals do offer neurological treatment.  Some government hospitals in Shimoga, Davanagere, Mangaluru do have nerulogical experts. But in Chikkamagaluru, Tumakuru, Mandya, Bagalakote, Bijapura, Bellary, Bidar, Gulbarga, Arasikere, Kolara does not have neurologists, neuro surgeons, physiotherapists and counselling psychiatrists. In Hassan there is a Department of Neurology but no experts appointed. The doctors, in proportion to population does not apply in these hospitals. Even private hospitals in districts do not have neurologists. Hence people are forced to travel to big cities in search of experts.

The neurological experts depend on tests conducted by CT Scan, MRI, EEG and such other instruments. They are expensive. The government hospitals also are city centric and neglect rural population. As a result, the government hospitals at Bengaluru and other big cities have a large number of patients waiting for treatment.  The travel, stay and the medical expenses are proving too expensive for the poor.

Retired Dean of Bangalore Medical College Dr G T Subhash says epilepsy is not fatal. Some patients can be cured by surgery. All neurological treatments are city centric and rural people are deprived of proper medical attention. District hospitals lack neurologists.

H K Damodara Rao, honorary secretary of All India Epilepsy Society (Karnataka faction) says there are no neurologists in 45 colleges in the 28 districts of the State.  Neurology requires adequate guidence and is tough to master. The government must compulsorily appoint neurologists at medical colleges and insipre students to take up neurology studies.

In recent times, awareness about diabetes and Cancer is on the rise. The number of experts and centres dealing with these is also high. However, there is a serious dearth of students, professors and practitioners of neurology.  Hence there are fewer number willing to practice in rural areas.  Also it is considered not lucrative.

Awareness campaigns should be taken up with new zeal in government and medical colleges about neurology.  Public campaign also must intensified.  Incentives must be provided for neurologists.  Every expert must be convinced to visit district level hospitals at least once a week.