Archive for April 13th, 2007

We Need A BIG Change—Health Care

This is going to be one sad post, as it is about sorry state of affairs in my country.

I was saddened when I first heard of this, I am feeling enraged when I write this. I do not want my post to be litany of complaints, I want to record my thoughts for the benefit of anyone who might care about these issues.

Believe me when I say all of these issues impact our lives. These issues concern every aspect of our citizenship, ranging from health care, religion, education, and law enforcement. I write this because I am aware we tend to give ourselves to a passive awakening, we do not rise unless calamity befalls on ourselves.

Let’s hear them all one by one.

Health care has always been most ignored aspect of life in India. Rural health has always been poor, so much that we have not been able to eradicate diseases like polio despite massive campaigns. Polio has been eradicated even in a third-world country like Somalia. Another killer disease in rural India is diarrhea. It feels strange even while reading this as this disease has a simple treatment—ORS solution. But statistics will tell you how poorly we fare.

However, this was not the reason why I started writing this post. It was the indefinite doctor’s strike at Lok Nayak Hospital in Delhi that depressed me. Patients are being turned away from the hospital. Even the ones who require emergency treatment. Like five kids who got burnt due to cylinder leakage, a Pakistani heart patient, a Muslim woman who had a sever head injury, and innumerable others. They lose critical time while rushing to other hospitals. The lives of all such patients are at risk. God knows, how many may have actually d….

Before we jump to abuse the doctors—we must know their reason of strike. They were manhandled and hurt by the relatives and attendants of the patient who died while receiving treatment. It would also be unjust to blame unruly behavior of the anguished relatives and attendants for the strike. If I were one of those unfortunate who lost their kith and kin due to unavailability of the sufficient medical attention, I do not know what I might do.

And if I were the doctor who was being assaulted at the death of every such patient who died despite my best efforts, I would perhaps not keep such a job for the fear of my safety. One unfortunate day, public rage just might cost my life.

So why do the patients die? Lack of resources, less doctors, brittle needles, broken machines, emergency rooms without the facility of taking X-ray! Patients die while the doctors are attending other patients. Patients need to be transported to different wing for simplest of tests.

I ask, why we have such hospitals in the first place. It is not one such hospital that we have. We always see hordes of patients waiting, both indoor and out door. There is lack of hospital beds. And hospitals as Lok Nayak, they dupe both public and government. They are simply money-making institutions who don’t care a hoot about the health care. Why else a hospital would have such brittle needles that break while it is still in patient’s body! I am aghast.

Who gives permissions to open up such hospitals when they do not have adequate resources? Doesn’t any regulatory body audit the quality of infrastructure deployed?

After all, a billion lives depend on it.

Where do those grants go that finance minister announces each year in the budget? How much is the grant? How is it spent? Does anybody audit the balance sheet? Truthfully, I do not know the answers to these questions myself. But we should find out. Fast. I don’t want any of my near and dear ones to suffer in one of these hospitals.

Perhaps we should take a survey to check general health of all the hospitals of these kind. Only when we have all the facts and evidence, we can take other action such as file a PIL.

But we need to get our act together fast.

It’s quite late in night now. I will write about other aspects later. Next is religion. I will try to make it interesting matter-of-fact, I promise.

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Visceral Observations is written by Poonam Sharma. It is licensed to her under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License
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April 2007