By: Parmanand Pandey

Newspapers and TV news channels have definitely rendered yeoman’s service by highlighting a banal fact that sweepers, janitors and drivers administer medicines and sometimes carry out minor surgeries on the patients in the government hospitals of Uttar Pradesh. This is the same state where during the regime of Ms Mayawati thousands of crores made way to the pockets and purses of politicians and officials in the name of high sounding NHRM Scheme. If the objectives of the scheme were to be believed, rural areas of Uttar Pradesh would have been the ideal places for the healthcare but unfortunately that proved to be moonshine.

Many former bureaucrats, Medical officers and politicians have already been caught and some of them are cooling their heels in jails. The corruption of unprecedented scale went on for years together under the nose of rather in complicity with the Chief Minister.

But that is no excuse for the present Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav to allow the corruption to go on unabated. Therefore, it is but natural to find the outrage across the country over the TV pictures showing a sweeper and ward boy stitching wounds and administering injections. So much so, in the district hospital of Kushinagar the driver of the Chief Medical officer was found treating (or playing with the life of) the patients in emergency and general wards. Further, to add salt to the injury, the CMO claimed (or feigned) ignorance over the incident. In Meerut, a ward boy was caught on camera carrying out a post-mortem in a government hospital. This is very common in all government hospitals, particularly in Uttar Pradesh.

A weak argument of understaffing is put forward by the corrupt and dishonest doctors and politicians. The fact is the doctors of government hospitals do not attend to their duties properly. They visit hospitals only to mark their presence in the register and then disappear to their private clinics or other private hospitals. Except for one or two hours in the forenoon, any doctor is hardly seen in the government hospitals. Thereafter patients are left at the mercy of the sweepers and other attendants. Sweepers and attendants take money and liquor bottles from the patients and their relatives and often misbehave with them. So, the excuse of understaffing is total bunkum and hogwash.

Medicines, that are to be given free of cost, find their way to the shops of chemists. Even cotton wool and bandages are not made available. It is done openly without any fear or shame because they know it that nobody can touch them. Doctors and paramedical staff buy the protection from top officials and politicians who are corrupt to the core.

I know one politician who is only matriculate and he was made cabinet minister for health by Shri Mulayam Singh, when he was the Chief Minister. He was neither having any idea of healthcare nor any desire to learn but he had become expert in making money through graft. Corrupt doctors were given plum postings and honest were punished. During the marriage ceremony of his daughter, the Chief Medical officers of all districts were directed to deposit the fixed quota of money to the Ministers’ PA. And there was the queue outside his village house at Azamgarh to deposit the money against Kuchcha receipt.

This state of affairs not only continued during Mayawati’s regime but actually got worsened.

Nearly one lakh crore Rs. were pumped in by the WHO and the Central Government to improve the health care services in the state and not even give per cent of the whopping amount was allowed to percolate down to the people. More than 95 per cent of the money was gobbled up by the bureaucrats and corrupt politicians in power.

UP’s Health department is, in fact, has become sick and the disease of corruption has become very chronic. It needs urgent operation and shock treatment. Throw the corrupt doctors and rude, lethargic staff out. Drastic ailments need effective medicines. Media is playing the commendable role to stem the rot. Keep it up.


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