Gorakhpur hospital tragedy, a year on: The gaping holes in UP's healthcare infrastructure

Editor's Note: It's been a year since 63 children died of encephalitis at Gorakhpur's BRD Medical College Hospital. Khabar Lahariya, a women-only network of rural reporters from Bundelkhand is doing a two-part video series from Gorakhpur and Bundelkhand on Uttar Pradesh's healthcare system. Firstpost will be carrying these reports as well.

“There’s no doctor or anybody for that matter, in that hospital. What do we go there for? To stare at the building?” — Shanti, Kamasin village, Banda

“We have to hire a private vehicle in case someone’s very unwell. The ambulance never comes.” — Ramji, Murvan village, Banda

“If you’re due for your delivery, you can’t plan to go so far to the hospital. Ghar hi mein karna padega.” — Poonam, Murvan village, Banda

“The nearest hospital is 30 kms away, in Lalitpur”. — Guddi, Pali village, Lalitpur

In a state still plagued by tuberculosis in 2018, while at the same time being “gifted” special ModiCare packages, irony catches a lethal hue. Healthcare in the hinterland often leads to dire and fatal circumstances, due to a sheer lack, which ranges from facilities and infrastructure to manpower and drugs.

The National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) prescribes a three-tiered organisational structure of Community Health Centres (CHCs), Primary Health Centres (PHCs) and Sub-Centres (SCs) for each district, to be administered by the state governments. UP’s healthcare infrastructure is one of the most inadequate in the country, with a 60% shortfall in CHCs, combined with an above 20% shortfall in SCs and PHCs. Moreover, more than half of the existing SCs lack basic supplies and medical equipment, and often do not even have electricity connections or water storage systems. This is the reality of the scenario, the zameeni hakeekat of the healthcare system that fails to treat or help those who need it the most, and are on paper, entitled to it, free of cost.

Vyavastha Kahaan Hai? or Where are the facilities? is an examination of this very conundrum — the lack of basics in an age of ambitious medical insurance plans, drafted by the stalwarts of the central government.

Read Part I of the series here.

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Updated Date: Aug 12, 2018 13:09:52 IST