Indian Healthcare: Seven Decades of Neglect
Gorakhpur, Muzaffarpur and now Kota, everywhere and every year children are dying in government hospitals due to negligence. No one in the country seems to be troubled by these deaths. Instead of pondering over our failures, we tend to be more interested in passing the buck. Sometimes, we put either the governments or the doctors on the docks. But are we really interested in putting an end to such cruelty? Perhaps not; as we have never exercised our power to make the government work though it is elected by us. We think that our duty ends after electing the government. We have never realised that as citizens of the country, we have more duties to perform than simply voting. Till we change this peculiar mindset of ours, infants in large numbers will continue to die with unfailing regularity without pricking our conscience even slightly.
In Gorakhpur, it was encephalitis. In Muzaffarpur, it was because of overeating of certain seasonal fruits which lowered Glucose level in infants. But what is the reason behind the deaths of over a hundred infants in Kota? It is strange that even after a month, the doctors are not in a position to pinpoint the reason. They are attributing various reasons starting from lack of nutrition to lack of proper healthcare facilities. But isn’t it abnormal in today’s world that the death of so many infants occur without an epidemic? Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot curiously came out with an explanation. According to him, during previous regime, more children died and his government this time had managed to keep it under control. What more can we expect from a politician who so blatantly plays down the death of innocent lives?
What caused these deaths? If locals are to be believed, the infants died after failing to withstand the severe cold wave in that part of the country. But were the children not safe in government hospitals? No, because the hospital had no window panes and so it failed to protect the children from the cold. In absence of window panes, the children were exposed to open skies that their bodies were not equipped to withstand. What is strange is that neither the hospital authority, nor the State Government, even thought about plugging the open space on a temporary basis? So the infants were virtually sitting ducks in such hostile weather. Will anyone ever be held responsible for such a lapse?
No, not in India. The state of healthcare facilities are similar all over the country. Here, healthcare facilities are constructed to garner votes. Regimes past and present have hardly shown interest in making hospitals truly functional. They have not considered that with skeleton staffs, devoid of even life-saving drugs, lack of proper equipment to perform even primary tests to diagnose diseases that hospitals are nothing but graveyards and people in large numbers including infants are falling prey to apathy every year. So instead of announcing plans to make India healthy, our leaders should devote more time in building a proper healthcare structure where everyone gets proper treatment. The harsh reality is that in India at present, proper medical facilities are available only to the rich, while the poor and defenceless continue to die without medical attention even after seven and a half decades of Independence.