The healthcare system in Uttarakhand is in a shambles due to government apathy and lack of infrastructure.
On August 15, a heavily pregnant woman, who was referred to the Dehradun district women Hospital from Uttarkashi, died as there were no doctors to attend to her. A couple of days later, another patient from Rudraprayag died at the Doon Medical College due to a defunct dialysis machine.
A 12-year-old girl, bitten by a snake, died in Haldwani after Sushila Tiwari Medical College and Soban Singh Jeena Base Hospital refused to give her anti-snake bite venom. At least six people have died from snake bites due to lack of treatment in government healthcare centres.
A senior health department official, who did not wish to be named, admitted that scenario is depressing. “Neither the health minister nor department officials are concerned about the well-being of the people,” he said.
“On one hand, the government is boasting of successfully running Janani Suraksha Yojna and on the other hand, a pregnant woman dies due to lack of facilities,” he told HT.
Dr SC Pant, acting director general of state health department rubbished the allegation, saying that the situation was not as bad as being projected.
“The Doon district hospital and district women hospital do not have teaching departments so the health department does not have a say on the functioning. “Any slackness in services at the hospitals is not our responsibility,” he said.
Despite having an integrated disease surveillance project cell headed by Dr Kiran Bisht, the state health department was unprepared to tackle the recent outbreak of dengue with more than 346 people testing positive for the mosquito-borne disease in the last two months.
While one person died of the disease in Kumaon, another resident of Uttarakhand died in Delhi.
When dengue outbreak was first reported this year from Pathari Bagh neighbourhood in the capital, only then health department official along with the Dehradun Municipal Corporation conducted fogging and started sensitising people.
Surendra Singh Negi, state health minister, was not available for his version despite a number of attempts to contact him.