The condition of health centres and hospitals in Madhya Pradesh can be gauged from Damoh district collector’s recent experience which ended in a tragedy—he lost his mother.
Collector Sriniwas Sharma rushed his mother to the district hospital after she complained of a chest pain. But, he found the basic facilities missing at the hospital.
The doctor reached late and the ventilator didn’t work. He was advised to take his mother to a Jabalpur hospital which had advanced medical facilities. However, the ambulance’s ventilator was not working. A new one was called from Sagar. But, it was too late by then.
What about commoners?
The incident could come to light as a high-profile person suffered because of poor state of medical facilities in Madhya Pradesh. Otherwise, several such deaths in the state go unreported.
Over 40 people lost their vision after botched cataract surgery in the district hospital in Barwani a little more than six months ago.
In Indore, two babies died last month as they were administered nitrous oxide instead of oxygen at MY Hospital.
Long queues at outpatient departments (OPD), overcrowded wards where patients are hospitalized, relatives of patients entering intensive care units like they do in a general ward, shortage of doctors, want of generic medicines, ventilators, X-Ray machines not working in many district hospitals, inhuman treatment meted out to patients, chemist shops flourishing outside the hospitals and private hospitals’ mushroom growth with nexus of a section of government doctors — these are some of the problems the government hospitals in the state are plagued with.
Needless to mention the scenario at the primary and community health centres.
The National Rural Health Mission (2005-2012)’ ‘Mission document’ underlines Madhya Pradesh as one of the 18 high focus states including BIMARU states ‘to address the inter-state and inter-district disparities, including unmet needs for public health infrastructure’.
“The goal of the mission is to improve the availability of and access to quality health care by people, especially for those residing in the rural areas, the poor, women and children,” says the mission document.
But what happened in Damoh happened in the town. The status of health facilities in rural areas of Damoh can be anybody’s guess.
Even the district hospital in Sehore, chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s home district, didn’t have ventilators and an incubator. These are the basic facilities which are required for patients. Health minister Narottam Mishra’s constituency Datia is no different.
Hence, how the district hospitals in other parts of the state are functioning can be gauged easily.
NGO Jan Swasthya Abhiyan’s Amulya Nidhi says, “Forget about the primary and community health centres, the hospitals at the district headquarters lack facilities. The fact is the government getting awards on the basis of programmes made on the paper and implemented on the paper. I challenge the state government to show me a single block or village which has been developed as a model block or village for all the health facilities.”
He says besides Barwani at least at two more places, Sheopur and Chitrakoot, people lost their eyes after botched eye surgeries. In Seoni 7 people died due to diarrhoea as this could not be controlled. There are certain bureaucrats who want to privatise the health system while similar experiment has failed in the state like Karnataka.
He says until and unless the government has a health policy, vision, infrastructure management, coordination among various wings and committed bureaucracy to provide health facilities to people there cannot be any improvement.