BENGALURU: The HMT ward in Rajarajeshwari Nagar assembly constituency is one of the fringe areas of the city that comes under the District Health Officer of Bengaluru Urban. The ward is also one of the 65 in the city that does not have a public health facility.
With a total population of 37,350 which includes a slum population of 6,000, one would expect at least one primary health centre in the ward. Instead, the ward has just a free clinic run by the DUCOM Foundation in collaboration with BBMP, called Sankalp. The clinic is open from 10.30 am to 2.30 pm. Hundreds of patients have just four hours every day to meet doctors.
Ward corporator Asha Suresh said, “There is an ESI hospital but only card-holders are treated there. Otherwise, there are no health facilities in the ward. Among private hospitals, there is Sparsh Super Specialty Hospital and People Tree Hospital. But middle class families can’t afford them, let alone the poor. After a lot of effort, I got an Arogya Kendra (Sankalp free clinic) set up here with the help of an NGO.”
This situation is quite unsettling, especially when there is a Metro station at walking distance, but no hospital. A few yards away from the Peenya Metro station is the Ashrayanagara slum, one of the five slums in HMT ward. The other four are MHK Nagar, Thaneerhalli, Muneeshwaranagar and Sanjay Gandhi Nagar.
Ashrayanagar slum has around 3,000 houses/settlements. Ravi Kiran, a resident here, was seen playing with his friends, hopping around with the help of his walker. Seven-year-old Ravi met with an accident three months ago and needed an orthopaedic surgery where a rod had to be placed with his femur (thigh bone). “I was taken to Peenya government hospital (free clinic) first, but the surgery was done in K C General Hospital in Malleswaram,” he said. KC General Hospital is 8km from Peenya.
Sakamma, a mother of three, had fever and was rushed to KC General Hospital for treatment. Her neighbour Padma, said, “Everyone here either goes to Victoria or KC General Hospital for treatment. There are no maternity homes either.”
Geetha, whose 12-year-old daughter Kavya was bitten by a dog, narrates a similar story. “Dog menace is rampant in this area. My daughter had to be taken to KC General. Be it dengue or dog bite, that is the only option we have,” she said.
The locality has a few private clinics like Popular Clinic, Pushpa Clinic, Hema Clinic where people line up for treatment of ailments, injuries.