Health­care must not be de­nied for any rea­son

Stop­ping out sta­tion pa­tients from com­ing to A II MS is cal­lous and un­called for

Hindustan Times (Amritsar) - - Comment -

If Union min­is­ter of state Ash­wini Ku­mar Choubey was to have his way pa­tients from Bi­har with “mi­nor ail­ments” seek­ing treat­ment at the All In­dia In­sti­tute of Med­i­cal Sci­ences (AIIMS), Delhi, will be turned away. Speak­ing at a func­tion re­cently the ju­nior min­is­ter for health and fam­ily wel­fare re­port­edly said he asked the di­rec­tor of AIIMS, Delhi, “that pa­tients who can be treated in Patna AIIMS should be re­ferred there im­me­di­ately” be­cause “there is no need to in­crease the crowds here...”. Mr Choubey’s com­ments are in­sen­si­tive on many lev­els — what makes it more glar­ing is that they’ve come from a min­is­ter at the top of the coun­try’s health sys­tem.

The rea­sons why peo­ple ac­cess AIIMS, Delhi could be many — the most ob­vi­ous be­ing the su­pe­rior stan­dard of health­care pro­vided. The premier health­care fa­cil­ity not only at­tracts peo­ple from neighbouring states, but also from neighbouring na­tions and fur­ther afield. That peo­ple from Bi­har ac­cess AIIMS, Delhi, is a re­flec­tion of the poor state of health ser­vices in Bi­har. The dis­so­nance in his state­ment is that Mr Choubey is a Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment from Buxar, in Bi­har. What Mr Choubey should be do­ing is to cre­ate aware­ness among peo­ple about the near­est health­care fa­cil­ity they could ac­cess, rather than stop peo­ple from Bi­har (or any other state) from ac­cess­ing any other. Be­fore that he must im­prove the health­care fa­cil­i­ties in his home state and other states, and check the dis­lo­ca­tion of peo­ple for ac­cess­ing bet­ter health­care fa­cil­i­ties.

It is nec­es­sary that ev­ery health­care fa­cil­ity — from the pri­mary health cen­tre, to the sec­ondary and ter­tiary hospi­tal — in In­dia reach an op­ti­mal stan­dard. Till this is achieved, ter­tiary hospi­tals will have to take in the load from smaller cen­tres. The least a peo­ple’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive can do till then is to sup­port pa­tients who cross state bound­aries and travel hun­dreds of kilo­me­ters to ac­cess qual­ity health­care, which the State is du­ty­bound to pro­vide across the coun­try.

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