Elections 2019: Deterioration of Healthcare Infrastructure in Uttar Pradesh
Image for representational use only.Image Courtesy : The Financial Express
Basti/Gorakhpur: Kishun Gupta, 33, lost his only boy in the tragic Gorakhpur tragedy two years ago when more than 30 kids had died allegedly due to the shortage of oxygen at the Baba Raghav Das Medical (BRD) medical college.
Gupta, a resident of Belwar village in the Gorakhpur district is now convincing the voters not to vote for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) even though he has been an ardent follower of the saffron party in the past. The father of two daughters says that the reason he is up in the arms against the BJP and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. He is asking everyone he knows not to vote for the party in the ongoing elections.
“I had a lot of dreams about the boy who was yet to be named. He was just six days old when he got down with fever, and within next two days, he died,” says Kishun, adding that he had taken his unwell child to the nearest hospital, a primary health centre (PHC), but there was no doctor to look at him.
The father, further narrating his ordeal, says that he had no option then, and he took his unwell child to a private dispensary outside the village from where his kid was referred to the medical college where he died after one day allegedly due to lack of the oxygen.
The NewsClick team went to take a look at the Belwar PHC only to find it in a very bad condition with faeces lying all around, and only a compounder sitting in the air-conditioned chamber of the doctor.
When asked about the doctor, the compounder said, “He has gone to eat his lunch. He will rest for a while then, and will come back. You can come back then.”
When prodded a little more, the compounder said that the doctor appointed at the PHC is under a lot of work pressure. “Belwar is a very big village, and only Dr Yadav has been appointed here. There is no gynaecologist or other doctor. Only one doctor watching the elephantine population of the village will not make any difference. The government should close this unit and shift us to somewhere else. There is no staff here for other things also, and we have to sweep this hospital,” said Ramu Chaurasia.
Chaurasia is on doctor’s payroll with permission of the chief medical officer.
The patients sitting in the PHC, waiting for treatment, told this reporter that getting treated at the government hospital depends on the mood of the doctor as well as the “luck of the patient”.
Quacks: a boon and a curse at the same time
Deshraj Manager, 47, a father who lost his son to the deadly Japanese encephalitis, says that he was lucky that his elder son was saved in time by a quack, but unfortunately, he lost his younger son who was four years old.
Deshraj, who is a mason and comes from the Rajbhar community, says “We do not have any option other than consulting the local doctor. His medicine saved at least one of my children. The doctor is no less than a god to us. He is available for us all the time.”
Dr Prem Tripathi, a quack, who runs an association of non-MCI (Medical Council of India) registered doctors under the name of Gramin Swasthya Seva Sangathan, demands that the government recognise quacks under the criteria of doctors, as they can practise medicine, and help the government in improving the healthcare sector of India.
“If not recognition, then provide us some sort of training to treat the patient in emergency when you are not able to produce enough number of doctors to improve the healthcare sector. Arresting quacks and putting the blame on us is not going to help the government in any condition,” he says. Tripathi is based out of Basti.
According to Rural Health Statistics Data, there was a shortage of 1,288 medical professionals at the PHC level in Uttar Pradesh as of March 31, 2015. At the Community Health Centre (CHC) level, the state was 2,608 doctors short.
As per a government report, Uttar Pradesh has only one doctor for every 19,000 people. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), there should be one doctor for every thousand people.
According to the figures available with MCI Uttar Pradesh, there are 78,476 doctors in the state while the numbers of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani and Siddha Healing) doctors in the state is 89,756. According to the World Health Organisation's recommendation, the state should have at least 2.1 lakh doctors for its population of approximately 21 crore.
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