Karnataka CHCs crippled with defunct X-ray machines

Bangalore City Health

Recent findings show that 20 per cent of the Community Health Centres in Karnataka have X-ray machines which do not function.

By Niket Nishant

About a fifth of the Community Health Centres (CHCs) in Karnataka are operating without a functional X-ray machine. However, among other states and union territories with 200 or more CHCs, the state ranks the best; data from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare show.

The list shows that as of March 31, 2018, 40 out of 206 CHCs in the state have no functional X-ray machine. Neighbouring states like Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have 88, 48, 51 and 52 per cent CHCs respectively with non-functional X-ray machines. Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Jammu and Kashmir (state) were some of the best performers in the list.

Dr. Sunil, a physician in the only CHC in Sirwar, Raichur district said, “By rule, every PHC is eventually converted into a CHC. So when the upgrading happens, it takes some time to bring in the entire infrastructure.”

“This CHC was upgraded  just a month ago. Earlier, we had only six beds. To keep the additional beds, a new building has already been constructed,” he added, referring to the CHC in Sirwar.

Plans are on for an X-ray machine as well, officials from the CHC said.

Dr. Ananya Panda, an MBBS graduate, said, “The state’s ranking is pretty impressive. However, this should not be a cause for complacency. One must remember the extent to which CHCs are significant in rural health care. Lots of people depend on one CHC so even a single one of them without the required facilities would impact a lot of people.”

The Community Health Centre is defined as the “third tier of the network of rural health care institutions” by the National Planning Commission. Its primary objective is to serve as a referral centre for the Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) and to prevent overcrowding in them.  They should have 30 beds along with other facilities like X-ray machine, operation theatres, labour room etc. One CHC serves a population of 80,000 in hilly areas and 1,20,000 in plain areas.