A Primary Health Center (PHC) was established between 2006-7 in Amethi’s Chanderiya village to provide health care services to people. Ignorance of the state government and the officials about 25,000 villagers have been suffering to avail health care services since the health care centre was established.
According to the Indian Public Health Standards (IPHS) a PHC should have so many facilities that if any patient’s condition is not critical then he or she can be treated in PHC only. It should also have 24 hours emergency services and 4-6 indoor beds for patients. All the services should be provided primarily by the nursing staff. However, in case of need, the Medical Officer may be available to attend to emergencies, on-call basis.
However, the PHC in Chanderiya does not have any facilities for the villagers. Moreover, it opens only once or twice a week for a few hours. In result, villagers have to travel either 12 kilometres or about 30 kilometres to avail health care facilities.
Mohammad Haleem, 65, Chanderiya, lost his daughter-in-law, a couple of months ago due to access bleeding after giving birth to a child. Because of no facility and often closed PHC in his village, he took his daughter-in-law to the Community Health Center (CHC), Sangrampur, which is 12 kilometres from Chanderiya. Delivery was done normal.
“However, it was bleeding a lot. The doctor referred us to visit another hospital which is in Sultanpur, which is about 30 kilometres. I lost my daughter-in-law on the go,” said Haleem.
Haleem believes that because of more time in travelling one hospital to another delayed the treatment, hence he lost his daughter-in-law. “If this PHC was functional and had all the facilities I may not have lost her (Kulsum) as she would have received early treatment,” added Haleem.
Munawwar Hussain, 35, Chanderiya lost his soon expected baby in July last year in her wife’s womb. His wife used to visit a hospital in Sultanpur for regular check-ups during her pregnancy. He also believes that if the PHC, which is very near to his house, was functional and had all the facilities, his wife would be visiting regularly there for check-ups which may have avoided the tragedy.
“The hospital should open regularly and have all the facilities. It will be a huge relief for all of us,” added Safia Begam, 67, mother of Munawwar.
I also visited the PHC twice in two different days. On the first visit it was closed and on the second visit, only a ward boy Hardev Vishwakarma was there to look after the PHC. He told that one storey building was dedicated to the maternal care facility, but it has been closed since the PHC’s establishment.
These are not the only tragedies in the village that the ill-maintained PHC is responsible for. There are many such cases. A social worker claimed that about 35% of patients die of either delayed or no medical facility.
“The deaths are because private doctors in the village, who have no medical certificates, also known as Jhola Chapp, charge huge money and ask patients to continue taking medicines for at least 3 months. Even if it is a small wound or cough and fever,” said Dilshad Khan, 70. He has been doing social work for years. Dilshad further said that the PHC does not even have medicines for regular diseases such as cough, fever, wounds, cold, and such other facilities.
Dilshad also told that about 25,000 people from Chanderiya and villages around it can avail the health care facilities if the PHC has all the facilities and open all the time.
A barber in the village, Jameel, who earns just Rs. 4000-5000 a month also resonated as Dilshad and said private doctors charge more and “the village has no transport facility to travel from here to available CHC which is 12 kilometres. We even don’t have own vehicle. That is why we either use home remedies for diseases or wait for automatic heal,” said Jameel.
Munawwar also said that those who have money and own vehicles can travel wherever they want to for health care facilities. “But the poor are suffering a lot here,” added Munawwar.
Social worker Dilshad and Chanderiya’s former Pradhan Mehfooz Khan’s elder brother Aijaz Khan have been complaining about the PHC condition but it looks like the complaints are falling on deaf ears. “They have been saying that lack of staff is the reason for often closed PHC,” told Aijaz. Even Block Development Committee (BDC) member Rais Khan also claimed that no complaints were heard.
Dr Rajesh Mohan Srivastava, Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of Amethi while speaking over the call first reasoned that because of Coronavirus the PHC is often closed. as all the medical staff is on COVID-19 duty, However, when asked that the issue is not new but since its establishment, he said, “if it is closed then come to CHC Sangrampur (which is about 12 kilometers away from Chanderiya).”
CMO’s answers were clearly expressing that they are careless about the PHC and ignorant of the sufferings of villagers in Chanderiya and villages around it.