Gram Vaani conducted the Oxfam Free Medicine Campaign in partnership with Oxfam, where GV solicited feedback and comments from people in the context of the unfulfilled promise made by our honb’le Prime Minister during his last year’s Independence Day speech, where he promised free medicines to the people. However, this promise is still to be implemented and people, specially the rural poor are struggling to get basic health services and medicines at the grass-root level. Gram Vani did this campaign across 5 states with Community Radio Stations over Mobile Vaani Partnership programme.
Read the original source here
Shyampat Das from Chandankyari Bokaro tells Jharkhand Mobile Vaani that one villager’s wife is seriously ill but the treatment in Government hospitals will cost around Rs. 25000. The poor villager does not have so much money due to which his wife is unable to get proper treatment and is fighting between life and death. He has sold all his belongings to get money for her treatment but still it is not enough. Shyampat appeals to the Prime Minister that he must understand plight of the poor and should distribute free medicines to improve their lives and health.
Kailash Giri from Chandrapura, Bokaro shares that if free medicines were provided in their Panchayat Taranari, then lives of thousands could have been saved. Babujan Miyan from his village Taranari, did not have money to buy medicines and lost his life. Another woman of their village, Kaushalya Devi mortgaged her land for her treatment and has not yet been able to repay her debt. Many villagers are taking loans against their lands for their treatment. If free medicines are provided by Government, it will reduce burden of the poor. Kailash appeals the Prime Minister through Jharkhand Mobile Vaani that he should stick to his promise and distribute free medicines for the poor.
Vasudev Turi from Nawadih Bokaro says that Manmohan Singh made an empty promise of free medicines and healthy villages, but did not have any such intentions. Though many schemes are rolled out for the underprivileged, but they are mere show on the outside. Huge sums of money are spent on these schemes but the benefits do not reach the bottom of the pyramid. The money meant for schemes is lost in scams and corruption. Daily living is becoming increasingly difficult for the poor. And now the Government is obstructing the scheme of free medicines that can relieve the poor from huge burden. Increasing prices of medicines has made it difficult for the poor to buy medicines for curing illnesses. Millions of poor are afflicted by diseases like T.B., malaria and lose their lives due to not getting medicines. The Government, considering the health of the nation and especially poor population, should provide free generic medicines in Government Health centers
Kunti Devi, Sahiya, from Gram Panchayat, Sankardih, Giridih district says that due to scarcity of money she was unable to get treatment. In her message she says that she has to buy expensive medicines, which she can only buy selectively because she doesn’t have the money to buy all the medicines prescribed to her. Due to this neither is she able to provide for a balanced diet for her family (inflation), nor she is able to send her children to schools that can impart quality education. Providing further insights into her story, she tells that when she goes to the government hospital to get her check up done, the medical superintendent tells her to buy medicines from a private chemist since free medicines are unavailable in the hospital. Giving more details about her family income she says that since she is a Sahiya she doesn’t earn that much and her remuneration is due for a long time now. Her husband is a private tutor who takes tuitions and earns Rs. 3000/- monthly. Within that money these days it is very difficult to run household let alone paying for medicines and other unforeseen expenditures. She concludes the message by informing the people that she has to consult a “jholachhap” (un-registered/informal medical practitioner)for her treatment.
Birbal Mahto from Baghmara Dhanbad shares that today unemployment is widespread in villages. Villagers prefer going to the cities for work rather than do agriculture because of low incomes and inflation. Their incomes are meager and irregular so if they fall ill they cannot afford medicines. Under such conditions the Government should provide medicines for the poor so that their lives are saved. Birbal appeals to the Prime Minister that he must fulfill his promise and implement the scheme of free medicines in healthcare centers.
Read the original source from the previous week here.
Voices from the Mobile Vaani community echo how the Government has done nothing towards unemployment, shortage of doctors, municipal negligence causing disease outbreaks but seem unreasonably confident in their (grossly inaccurate) evaluation of the poverty line.
Deepak Kumar from Sadar division of Hazaribagh district, informs Jharkhand Mobile Vaani, that there have been no provisions for the unemployed since Jharkhand became an independent state and their pleas have been neglected. Jharkhand government has failed in 13 years to do justice for the unemployed. So the jobless youth of Jharkhand has much hope from the Chief Minister Hemant Soren. Despite a lot of empty vacancies, the government so far has failed to fill those vacancies and a majority of youth still remains unemployed. Because of this, the youth of the state either leave or take to illicit means. The caller also stated that unemployment and extreme poverty are the major causes of growing Naxalism in the state. Therefore, they hope that the Chief Minister of Jharkhand will take action to provide employment to people and restores hope in the youth.
Radhu Rai Mahuda from Dhanbad, giving his opinions on the recent report of the Tendulkar committee, remarks on Jharkhand Mobile Vaani that it is ludicrous to regard people with daily income of Rs. 28-32 as ‘not poor’. He informs that the current Government promised they will control inflation within 90 days of coming into power. Not only has the Government failed to take any actions to reduce inflation but such reports have left the public appalled.
Manoj Kumar from Kanke block, Ranchi district called up to put up a question to Dr. Amartya Sen. He questions Dr. Sen saying that there is a huge gap among the rich and poor of the country and how it can be resolved. India is a developing country, needs development in all its spheres. Just as there are limits for people living below poverty line, there should be a similar concept for the rich, that he calls as “Amiri Rekha”. He also asks him the ways to reduce corruption, the ways to strengthen the value of rupee against dollar, poor quality of the mid day meal being served in the government schools, Kashmiri Pandits unable to feel safe and secure in their own villages and the national banks being incapable of collecting debts from people.
Purushottam Kumar from Birni division, Girdih district tells Jharkhand Mobile Vaani that there are many Medical universities in which thousands of doctors are trained. Every year around 15000 doctors get a degree. But most doctors live in urban areas, due to which the villagers have to travel long distances. Number of doctors in villages is very less as compared to the urban areas. He stated that this creates a problematic scenario for the villagers who stay in remote areas with limited means and resources, since traveling to urban cities for them entails both time and expenses. In an already collapsing health infrastructure, this nonetheless adds to their woes and many a time leaves their diseases untreated.
Shivpujan Hazari from Dhanbad, Baghmara talks about the plight of the poor on Jharkhand Mobile Vaani. He describes how the the life of the people in Belakhonda Tetulia Panchayat, Madhupur, has been affected by the rains. There is water logging everywhere in the village due to which flies, mosquitoes and worms are increasing causing an outbreak of diseases. Many people are falling ill and people are not even getting appropriate medicines or mosquito nets and the municipal authority does not spray bleaching powder. Shivpujan requests through Jharkhand Mobile Vaani that proper aid and health related services are provided in Tetulia Panchayat at the earliest, to avoid outbreak of an epidemic.
Next week: Voices from Jharkhand districts on the status of health infrastructure and facilities and the challenges they are facing.
Feature image courtesy: Gram Vaani
[Editor’s Note] Each week, The Alternative will be featuring the best messages from Gram Vaani’s Mobile Vaani Platform, a voice-based social platform that enables remote communities to achieve a 2-way communication between listener groups and various stakeholders. These messages will be featured on the basis of the most pertinent and urgent issues in the districts of Jharkhand, voiced by the grassroots community members.