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Hiccup Hits Center’s Healthcare Promise

A woman from Buxar has submitted a petition in a local court alleging that Bihar’s first health and wellness center inaugurated in the district headquarters town under the Narendra Modi government’s Ayushman Bharat health insurance scheme was shut when she visited it writhing in acute abdominal pain, despite government claims that the center would be open round the clock. Buxar MP and Union minister of state for health Ashwini Kumar Choubey had inaugurated the center on September 15, a day before Kiran Kumari Jaiswal went there for treatment at around 11 pm only to find it locked. Sources who were present at the inauguration confirmed that Choubey had said the center would function 24/7. Jaiswal’s counsel told the court that a case of misleading people, spreading rumors and cheating should be registered against Choubey and others responsible for her suffering. The court on Wednesday asked the Town police station in the Buxar district headquarters town, around 127 km west of Patna, to investigate the matter and submit a report, district magistrate (DM) Raghvendra Singh confirmed to The Telegraph.

“The court has directed police to submit a report on this,” the DM said. “The civil surgeon has informed that the center only runs from 8 am to 8 pm due to manpower shortage while it should run for 24 hours as per the norm. The center lacks sufficient number of doctors and there are some other issues as well. Outsourcing agencies are yet to be hired for different works. The tender has also not been floated for outsourcing the work. The center is being run with all these discrepancies.” Buxar superintendent of police (SP) Upendra Nath Verma, however, said that he was yet to receive the court’s order. “We have not received paper from the court yet. Only after receiving papers, we will do the needful,” the SP said. According to state health department sources, 534 facilities — 334 additional primary health centers, 176 sub-centers and 24 urban primary health centers — are to be upgraded as health and wellness centers across Bihar’s 38 districts in 2018-19 under the Ayushman Bharat scheme. They are to become operational by March 2019.

Big plans

Each center is supposed to have an MBBS doctor, a staff nurse, two auxiliary nurse midwives, a lab technician, a pharmacist, and a data entry officer. The centers are also supposed to be equipped to provide primary healthcare. Apart from getting outpatient consultation, one can get consultation through telemedicine facility. The centers are also supposed to conduct 19 types of tests, including for cervical and breast cancer. Medicines for blood pressure, sugar and cardiac ailments are supposed to be available, ante-natal and post-natal check-ups are to be available, as are all vaccines and information related to newborn babies. Yoga and wellness programs will also be run at these centers and pregnant women will be acquainted with delivery related problems and family planning measures, and counselling facilities for adolescents are also to be provided. – Telegraph India