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Obstetricians in high demand on Okinawa

Date Posted: 2006-04-07

A shortage of obstetricians is causing concerns to both government officials and expectant mothers.

Only four of ten current interns in medical school here are expressing interest in obstetrics, citing the stresses of being on call 24 hours a day, and facing fears a childbirth could prove problematic instead of routine.

Officials say pay for obstetricians is about the same as for doctors in other medical specialties. A Central Hospital director says the government “has to make some special treatment or payment.

Otherwise, nobody wants to become an obstetrician.” The Prefecture says that beginning this month, obstetricians will see their pay increase, but express concern the raises may not be enough to lure doctors to the specialty.

A survey of Okinawa’s intern doctors shows internal medicine, surgery and pediatrics to be the preferred specialties.

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