Nowadays we quite often come to know about the poor and deteriorating healthcare system that is utterly disappointing as it adversely affects the social set up. Being citizens of India and more so belonging to a princely state makes us dream of a healthcare system of countries like that in Norway, Sweden, where availability, accessibility and affordability to healthcare services is a priority over everything else. Usually the major reason cited for poor healthcare is that ours being a developing country, we have economic constraints. However, it seems not only surprising, but shocking too when the appalling condition of the ailing healthcare system is furthermore worsened not only due to paucity of funds and supplies, but due to leakages in the funds and supplies by the people at the helm of affairs.
There are many stakeholders responsible for the proper functioning of the system and everyone has one or the other role to play. But the basic and essential obligation lies with the administrators. Here, I would like to quote an example and present the whole scene of a locally situated District Hospital; an episode to ponder over- what standards we have reached? What levels we are crossing as humans and at what cost? And what our footing is on moral grounds?
The instance is that of one of our district hospitals that lies in shambles with no facilities at all for patients, doctors as well as general public, no proper heating arrangements and sanitation facilities, no cleanliness in the premises which is a must for a place like hospital for which funds are properly earmarked and it doesn’t need extra funds or manual labour, but a bit of supervision and effective administration of the existing ones. Above all shameful to even speak about – no medicines and oxygen concentrators. Imagine the plight of things even the doors are without curtains or are having rags. Now, at the same hospital the minister concerned plans a visit rather a surprise visit, but thanks to a few persons who manage to obtain the information somehow or the other and the surprise no more remains a surprise as the administration of the hospital come to know about it well before hand. Next day the visit as scheduled is conducted and everything is ‘fine’, the hospital is all clean, a fresh oxygen concentrator is available in emergency, new curtains put on the doors, a swachh hospital emergency abhiyan done under the strict supervision of hospital administration, and some medicines which could have been acquired overnight too are made available. Oh! A sigh of relief for the administrators who are to be responsible for providing supplies to the hospital.
A few questions that always remain unanswered are:
• Why all this is not done daily for the common masses rather than pleasing the ministers
• If there is a shortage of supply why the administrators of the hospital are not confident enough to tell the minister that we don’t get proper and required supplies. This implies that either the officers don’t have the guts to speak the truth or there is indeed a chain of supply which breaks before reaching the intended beneficiaries.
For me what is astonishing in this whole episode is that human values have lost, there is no compassion for fellow beings, human life is no more precious, conscience is dead. Someone dies just because the administrators are either negligent or have taken things for granted for the fulfilment of their greed and desires at the cost of someone’s life.
Among all this are our doctors who have to deal with the public, who have to face the public wrath due to the inefficient system. Some of the doctors do place requisitions which are delayed and if god forbid they complain then of course they are on the so called hit list and have to bear the brunt.
I admit doctors too are not infallible and can’t escape the net of responsibility which they owe to the people, to the system as a whole. They too are sometimes negligent, but what comes first is eliminating the conditions which they cite as an excuse for their negligence so that there remains no scope for them to blame the system, the administration for their faults. Only after that their negligences can be deemed to have no excuse.
My mind fails to conceive that you don’t utilize funds meant for saving lives, but use as per one’s own choice and discretion or misappropriate too. I question all concerned administrators
• How your conscience lets you sleep?
• How you face your own self?
• How you feed your children with what is meant for others?
• How you enjoy yourself by compromising and putting at peril innumerable precious lives?
• How you manage to trample the poor and downtrodden by not providing them what is their right when on behalf of state you have an obligation to protect their rights
How utopian it would be if the Minister, the hospital administrators, the doctors all perform their duties with honesty, integrity and dedication. They have not to pay for it from their pockets, they are just to do work for what a handsome amount they are being paid; not to talk of utopia which seems far, at least an euphorian state can be achieved.
A serious introspection by everyone is the need of the hour and the day will not be far when we shall achieve the goal of having good healthcare at affordable prices.