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    Dismal condition of Public Hospitals in Sukma district, Chhattisgarh

    Hospital beds
    Image used for representational purposes
    Date : 07/02/2017

    Bichem Pondi v Union of India and 03 others. W.P. (PIL) No. 11/2016, Hon’ble High Court of Chhattisgarh.

    Synopsis
    Sukma was given the status of new district in 2012. More than three years have passed but the public health systems have not been upgraded, and the existing facilities do not provide services as per the Indian Public Health Standards Guidelines. Bastar Division, Sukma ranks below the state and national average on several important indicators like maternal mortality ratio, infant mortality ratio etc. The district does not have a single specialist doctor, several PHC’s don’t have an MBBS doctor in violation of the Indian Public Health Standard Guidelines.
    The High-Level Committee on Socio-Economic, Health and Educational Status of Tribal Communities of India, Ministry of Tribal Affairs, in its May 2014 report has highlighted he importance of improving the public health systems in tribal areas considering that there are no private providers in these areas.
    It has been accepted by the government institutions like the Planning Commission and excerpt bodies that neglect and deprivation are responsible for the spread of left wing extremism. Sukma is one of the of left wing extremism affected districts. The policy of government of India and Government of Chhattisgarh has been to allocate more resources for the development of these areas, and hence it is best interest that the respondents must implement their own policies and commitments to provide health services to the people of his already neglected area.
    The petitioner by way of writ petition has prayed to issue a writ of mandamus directing the respondents to appoint MBBS doctor in PHC’s, to appoint specialist in each CHC’s of Sukma district such as surgeons, ophthalmologist, pediatrician, anesthetist and other specialist who can serve the people in tribal areas properly. Also, the petitioner has requested to issue a writ of mandamus directing the respondents to set up a blood bank and blood storage facility in Sukma district hospital also to ensure delivery of free medicines to patients.

    Background
    Sukma was given the status of new district in 2012. More than three years have passed but the public health systems have not been upgraded, and the existing facilities do not provide services as per the Indian Public Health Standards Guidelines. Bastar Division, Sukma ranks below the state and national average on several important indicators like maternal mortality ratio, infant mortality ratio etc. The maternal mortality rate of Bastar Division is 261 whereas the state average is 244. The district does not have a single specialist doctor, several PHC’s don’t have an MBBS doctor in violation of the Indian Public Health Standard Guidelines.
    It was found that Sukma District Hospital at present is a thirty-bedded hospital. As per the IPHS Guidelines, the district Hospital Sukma should have been a hundred-bedded hospital. It was further found that Sukma District Hospital is supposed to function as a first referral unit, but is not functioning so, neither is there a functioning blood storage unit or a blood bank the hospital also does not conduct cesarean deliveries. Apart from that free drugs are not being provide to patients in PHC’s and CHC’s.

    The High-Level Committee on Socio-Economic, Health and Educational Status of Tribal Communities of India, Ministry of Tribal Affairs, in its May 2014 report has highlighted the importance of improving the public health systems in tribal areas considering that there are no private providers in these areas.
    It has been accepted by the government institutions like the Planning Commission and excerpt bodies that neglect and deprivation are responsible for the spread of left wing extremism. Sukma is one of the of left wing extremism affected districts. The policy of government of India and Government of Chhattisgarh has been to allocate more resources for the development of these areas, and hence it is best interest that the respondents must implement their own policies and commitments to provide health services to the people of his already neglected area.

    Status
    As per the order dated 07/02/2017 the Hon’ble High Court of Chhattisgarh had ordered the Secretary Department of Health to his affidavit giving the number of blood banks available in each district in the State and what facilities are available in the blood banks.

    Obeying the order Subrat Sahoo, Principal Secretary, Government of Chhattisgarh, Department of Health and Family Welfare, has stated in his affidavit that there are total 61 licensed government and private blood banks and 55 blood storage units functioning across the state. The secretary further submitted that out of 61 blood banks, there are 23 blood bonks belonging to the State Government and 5 blood banks are of the Government of India Undertaking institutions and there are 33 blood banks which belong to private sector. The secretary stated that there are three facilities about the blood which are (1) whole blood facility, (2) component separation facility and (3) aphaeresis facilities. In addition to the above there are transportation facilities and sourcing of blood facilities available also. the whole blood facility is available in all 61 blood banks. Component separation facility is available in 24 blood banks. Apheresis facility is available in 04 blood banks. In relation to the facilities given to the patients it was stated that patients suffering
    from sickle cell anemia, thalassemia, hemophilia and other blood disorders are provided blood free of cost in all government, semi government and nongovernment blood banks.
    Precedent
    In Consumer Education and Research Centre v. Union of India, 1955 SCC (3) 43 has held Article 21 to include the right to health.
    In Pt. Parmanand Katra v. Union of India & ors. 1989 SCR (3) 997 it was held that Article 21 of the Constitution casts the obligation on the state to preserve life.
    In Paschim Banga Khet Mazdoor Samity v State of West Bengal 1966 SCC (4) 37, the Supreme Court affirmed that providing adequate medical facilities for the people is an essential part of the government’s obligation to safeguard the right to life of every person.

    Apart from the above order and affidavit the counsel for the petitioner has filed several RTI to state and national authorities asking about other important facilities being provided in the state of Chhattisgarh by governmental institutions.

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