Edited by Jai Kalra
As a kid growing up in Cantonment areas I noticed that every 3 months there would be painting of the walls, dividers and layering of the roads. All this activity would be because of the inspection that was bound to happen in a week. In the said inspection, a senior officer drives through the area to check if it is in order or not. UP CM Yogi Adityanath inspected the BRD hospital in Gorakhpur two days before 70 children died supposedly due to no supply of oxygen. I am not blaming a single person here, instead I’m questioning the definition of an inspection. What kind of inspection overlooks a debt of ₹70 lakh to oxygen suppliers?
Even if the cause of the demise of these children looms in question. This is because, long before they became news stories the hospital authorities forced the parents of the dead children to go home to their villages. This is yet another case where the huge inequality in wealth and education acts as a medium for this immutable exploitation.
The demand here is not to upgrade healthcare infrastructure to provide more free services; rather it is to optimally utilise existing resources to serve citizens with the current services. What is the point of spending chunks on national security when the basic health of citizens is in question? Government spending for defence stands at it’s lowest in the last decade at 1.56% whereas the health expenditure is the highest it has ever been at 1.4%. It is true that the soldiers on the border are protecting our very freedom,but what is the use of this freedom if the physical state of a sizable minority is dilapidated and destitute.
Government jobs is the place where innovation comes to die, it is a system in which there is no upside for initiative and creativity. In a system such as this, being lax and doing nothing new becomes the norm.The occasional alarm comes in the form of 70 children dying in a hospital due to shortage of oxygen. The different departments involved have openly jettisoned their role in public health, taking the blood-sucking private sector for granted.
Considering the inefficiencies mentioned above, a ‘ high level committee’ is the last place for a viable proactive solution. The solution will come from students like you and I, the government should create mechanisms to reward solutions that cater towards public health policy issues. This will create an environment where the best thinkers of our generation are not recruited for simply generating more views but for finding solutions to problems that jeopardize the future of India as a nation.