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Ten Years and Counting, a Community’s Wait for Basic Healthcare

Over ten years since it was build, a public health facility in Uttar Pradesh’s Ambedkar Nagar district remains shut. What will it take for the administration to swing into action?

At 167 deaths for every one lakh live births, India’s maternal mortality rate is much higher than the Sustainable Development Goals target of 70. Maternal deaths are entirely preventable, caused by infections due to non use of a sterile kit during delivery, home births without trained providers, eclampsia, postpartum haemorrhage, early pregnancies, anemia and unsafe abortions. The lack of access to timely healthcare is also a leading reason for deaths.

To ensure universal access to healthcare, the government has set up a public healthcare system under the National Health Mission with sub-health centres, primary health centres, community health centres and district hospitals at the village, block and district level. To combat maternal and infant mortality the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare launched the Janani Suraksha Yojana, a cash transfer programme, that incentivises institutional deliveries, in order to reduce maternal deaths in India. Under the scheme, Women are awarded a cash incentive for giving birth in public health facilities. It also makes provisions to reduce out-of-pocket expenditure —providing free antenatal check-ups, IFA tablets, medicines, nutrition in health institutions, provision for blood transfusion, and transport from health centres and back.

However, in Dighaya village of Uttar Pradesh’s Ambedkar Nagar district, a sub health centre that  has been in place for over ten years now, still remains locked. As a result, ten thousand people from 15 villages are forced to run from pillar to post to access healthcare and spend out of their pockets. Women from the area are travel to far away government health facilities or turn to nearby private hospitals. “ I spent about Rs 10,000 when I delivered at a private facility,” says Vandana Maurya, a resident of Dighaya village. While residents of the village have appealed to authorities multiple times over the years, no action has been taken.

Please Call the Chief Medical Officer on +91 94153358861 and urge him to take action.

Video by Madhuri Chauhan


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