NHRC asked Odisha government to file a healthcare status report from the state

Bhubaneswar, June 18: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has sought a report from the Odisha government on the condition of health services in the state, the rights panel said on Friday.

The notice to the government comes in the wake of a native of Athagarh town of Cuttack district, a home guard, looking for divine intervention for the cure of his 24-year-old ailing son because he could not afford his treatment. The youth died on May 11, a day after his mother died of a heart attack allegedly due to lack of treatment.

Taking suo motu cognizance of media reports regarding the two deaths, the NHRC issued notice to the state health secretary calling for a report and asked the state government to respond on non-availability of ambulance services at Athagarh since the man could not be shifted in time to a government hospital with proper facilities in Cuttack. He had no money to afford his treatment at a private hospital.

 According to media reports brought to the notice of the commission by special rapporteur Damodar Sarangi, Bapi, son of Bharat Nayak, was suffering from spinal disorder. His condition deteriorated because the Athagarh health centre was not equipped to treat him. Nayak took him to Cuttack but returned as he could not arrange Rs 1 lakh required for the treatment.
 He took him to a nearby temple while as his wife was being cremated with the assistance of Rs 2,000 from the state government. On hearing this, some local people persuaded Bharat to take his son back to the health centre where he eventually died. A sum of Rs 3,000 was arranged through Red Cross to shift him to Cuttack.

Stating that the incident raises serious concerns about the prevailing healthcare facilities in Odisha, the rights body asked the government to inform the commission whether any effort was made by the authorities concerned to arrange treatment for them under the provisions of the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna, the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund, the Odisha State Treatment Fund and under schemes for free treatment for people below the poverty line.