Health services in Rural U.P. needs Shot in the Arm

About the Video: The state of Uttar Pradesh has some of the worst infant mortality and maternal mortality statistics in the country. Even as the state government and the central government announce scheme after scheme under the National Rural Health Mission it fails to improve standards of health at the grassroots. In order to shed a light on the appalling state of health services and infrastructure, IndiaUnheard Community Correspondent Shankarlal Raykwar began to investigate in the situation in his neighbouring village of Bharrau where he had received the news of the death of an infant.

The health centre was locked and non-functional. The Auxiliary Nurse Midwives (ANMs) were shirking their duties and demanding hefty bribes of Rs. 50 to Rs. 400 for services that were promised as free under government schemes. The health of pregnant women and infants were not being monitored as per guidelines. What Shankarlal unearthed was a staggeringly corrupt and inept system that put hundreds of lives at risk.

Our Community Correspondent Says: “The nurses, the doctors and the workers, everybody involved, all of them are working together to fleece the public of their very last rupee,” says Shankarlal. “It was tough for me to make this video because these are small villages and I was an acquaintance of some of the people who were culpable. I refused to stay silent. This kind of silence breeds apathy and allows such corruption to take root and spread. We’re speaking out on behalf of thousands of lives that could be saved by timely action.”

Shankarlal Raykwar is the IndiaUnheard Correspondent from Lalitpur, Uttar Pradesh. This is his first video. He spoke to IndiaUnheard about his experience.

“Lalitpur is an underdeveloped and backward district. Most people are illiterate and the others make use of the people’s ignorance to fool and cheat them. There has been activism in Lalitpur but none have fought with the camera and information and that’s exactly what the doctor has prescribed for the district- an information revolution.”

“People asked me who I was making videos for. I told them about IndiaUnheard. Then they asked where the videos would be shown. I told them the internet. The victims I interviewed lost some hope and the perpetrators just smiled. The village hardly gets electricity. No one is expecting the internet to knock on the village gates anytime soon.”

“I asked the victims to speak out. ‘This is your chance,’ I told them. ‘Let the camera know what is happening to you and your lives. Let there be documented proof of your struggles.’ As for the perpetrators, I’m biding my time. As soon as the video is edited and sent to me, I’ll put up a screening in the village. I’ll take the video to village after village. Distribute copies for every household. They’ve never seen an information revolution before. Now they will. And they won’t know what hit them and wiped the smile of their face.”

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