“My 10-month-old boy is malnourished and has fever. When I went to primary health centre on Thursday no one was there. I had had to take back my baby after waiting for one and a half hour,” says Hina (22).
Parimala a social worker from Devara Jeevanahalli (DJ Halli) said, people fall sick during winter and this year the agony started immediately after the rains. “There is sewage flowing all over Roshan Nagar lane and close to 200 houses were flooded with sewage water. People have no toilets and open defecation is still prevalent. The area is not clean and children often fall sick and die but only few get reported. There is total apathy from elected representatives,” she said.
Parimala also alleged that the health centres were not functioning properly. “The area is in such a condition that even pigs will not survive. How can we expect humans to live? There is no point in blaming the doctors. Medicines will work only if the patient gets enough clean food and water, which is still a concern here,” she said.
The NGO’s working in this populated slum say that there are no gynecologist or pediatricians in the area which houses a population of one lakh. “Last week in a public hearing, it was decided by the officials that there will be one ambulance stationed at primary health centre (PHC) as no ambulance can easily zip through narrow roads. It was also decided to place 1 doctor at the PHCs from December 16. But now officials have gone back on the promises,” said Dr Sylvia Karpagam from Jana Arogra Andolana.
Dr Balasundar, BBMP Deputy Health Officer East Zone said, the palike has appointed 23 doctors through Karnataka Public Service Commission (KPSC) and will be placing one permanent doctor by January. Regarding the ambulance, the palike has an option of sending 108 Arogya Kavacha or will place its own ambulance soon at primary health centre.
‘Anganwadis Not Providing Rice’
Naseema who has a 10-month-old cerebral palsy child was told by the Anganwadi workers that coming January they will not get rice that is distributed at Anganwadi. “Through a special programme to eradicate malnutrition, the department officials have been giving rice based on the age and weight of the child every month, but in January this will stop,” she rued.
Child Development Project Officer, Veena Harish agreed to the fact of not giving rice and attributed to lack of stock. She said, “Instead of rice, Soji (Rava) will be given. Stree shakti kendras used to get about nine tonnes of rice from Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee to be distributed to Anganwadis at DJ Halli. Due to increase in price and less stock, the department will give Rava temporarily. Rice will be given soon.”