Doctors at a government hospital at Indi taluk in Bijapur District of Karnataka are present only once a month.
Bengaluru, Nov. 21, 2018.
Inhabitants of the Agarkhed village of Indi Taluk in Bijapur District say that doctors rarely available at the Prarthmika Raga Kendra hospital. BS Allur, President of the Panchayat for Agarkhed village complained that doctors at the government hospital in the village are not visiting as regularly as they are supposed to.
There are two doctors at the hospital. The level of education of these two doctors is ‘BMS’ and ‘MBBS’ respectively. Being the only government hospital in the village, the hospital receives 50-60 visitors, and on Thursdays and Mondays, the hospital around 150 visitors.
Allur said, “The doctors at the hospital are not regular. They come once in a month.” Furthermore, diseases such as chikungunya and dengue are rampant in the village. “The people here are also susceptible to joint pains.” Allur contended.
The village’s population as of 2011 was believed to be 6,978. However, people’s dependency on the hospital stretches beyond the limits of Agarkhed as it caters to three-four villages. The availability of doctors is not the only issue. “We have to pay Rs 2000 to Rs 3000 at the hospital. What more can we say?” Nagappa Basapanavi remarked.
However, hospital technician SB Bagoji painted a different picture. “The doctors are scheduled to attend on Tuesdays and Thursdays, “he said. “Since it’s a government hospital, the patients are not charged,” Bagoji added.
The hospital has been in operation for 13 years. Having 10 beds, the hospital is believed to have the highest number of deliveries in the taluk. “We facilitate 30-35 deliveries per month”, Bagoji noted. “Owing to that, the government has decided to convert the hospital into a Community Health Centre.” However, the hospital does not have an ambulance. Patients are taken to Indi or Vijayapura in case of emergencies” he clarified.
Director of the Centre for Rural and Development Studies, TH Murthy believed that Panchayati Raj system in India had a responsibility to facilitate healthcare to those in rural areas.“Under the 73rd amendment provisions, amenities like road, water, education, and healthcare must be provided by the panchayat.” Explaining the role of the panchayat he added “In Karnataka, 29 subjects have been allotted to the Panchayati Raj institutions. It is the primary duty of the Panchayati Raj to provide a minimum acceptable standard of health care in coordination with the department of health.”
Murthy believed that the State and Central government can only provide financial assistance. Basic infrastructure in the rural areas of India is still at its primitive stage” he added.
Furthermore, he believes that many government policies addressed the pursued need of the people as opposed to their felt-need. ” Policymakers tend to design policies on what they believe the people want rather than what they actually want.” he clarified. Rather, he felt that basic issues can only be addressed by strengthening the Panchayati Raj system.
Speaking on the lack of expertise among Panchayat functionaries, Murthy noted-“The qualifications of the panchayat functionaries are still at a primary level. Hence, skilled personnel with the expertise for administration and implementation must be brought in.”