Missing doctors, medicines ails D.J. Halli health centre

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Missing doctors, medicines ails D.J. Halli health centre

Some help at last: A young participant at a health camp in D.J. Halli on Sunday, following recent reports of malnutrition in the area. Photo: Special Arrangement
Some help at last: A young participant at a health camp in D.J. Halli on Sunday, following recent reports of malnutrition in the area. Photo: Special Arrangement

With reports on widespread malnutrition in D.J. Halli following the death of a five-year-old malnourished girl, a group of doctors, students and rights activists gathered for a Sunday health camp in the area.

While the two doctors who led the health camp documented many cases of malnutrition, many residents complained about the lack of quality healthcare. Sylvia Karpagam, a doctor and member of Janarogya Andolan, a public health initiative, said that many residents complained that doctors were often absent and that the PHC, which is required to be open through the week, had no doctor heading the shift. “Many women told us that officials here even demanded cash prior to providing treatment and that it mostly serves as a maternity home only,” Dr. Karpagam said.

Worst of all, the doctor and her team that led a small protest on Sunday noon in front of the PHC, said that medicines were in short supply here. In fact, the medicines inventory, a photograph of which was shared with The Hindu, showed that only 42 of 342 essential medicines were being supplied here and even basic medicines such as ORS for diarrhoea and Crocin for fever were missing from the list.

Paying a high price

In the absence of a decent public alternative, most residents here end up depending on private clinics and paying exorbitant amounts. Siraj, a resident here, says he has never been to the PHC because they neither have the required medicines nor do they bother diagnosing properly.

Denial

When contacted, a Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike health official claimed regular camps were being conducted in the area and denied that the problem was being ignored. The official said that authorities would look into the allegation that doctors were found skipping duty, and the short supply of medicines.

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5 thoughts on “Missing doctors, medicines ails D.J. Halli health centre”

  1. Do you have an update for Meghala’s sister and mother? I read Javed’s report and wondered if they had found a home or were being supported in some way by a local NGo. Please let me know.

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    1. Nalini, Meghala’s sister and mother are still pretty much in the same condition. The only change is that they have finally been issued a BPL card.
      Sylvia

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      1. Thanks, Sylvia.  I noted they were Christians and wondered if there was a convent, which could support them by giving the mother shelter and enabling the daughter to go to school.  I spend 11 years in a convent school, so I tend to be optimistic about the Nuns doing their bit.  But that was almost 50 years ago, and I have no idea how the convent schools have evolved in half a century.  Thank you for protesting at the PHC!

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  2. Nalini, like Meghala there are 72000 documented severely malnourished children. How many can we put into convents and expect missionaries to take care of? The government has a duty to ensure that its citizens (even the poor, blind, deaf, untouchable, minority religions, uneducated, dalit) have basic rights and entitlements to good and adequate food, health, water, livelihood, sanitation, education and living conditions. Many of the children we see are in the worst situation imaginable. The government is giving tax subsidies to large corporates that are 100% unregulated, takes loans from unscrupulous agencies like World bank and then cuts off all its expenses for basic social support mechanisms. The government has to be made accountable. It is the government’s duty.

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    1. I agree this is the government’s responsibility, but when a family is in crisis it cannot wait for government action — always slow and often inadequate. I suggested a religious charity so they would have a better shot at survival.

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