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Nayandahalli PHC lacks blood testing kits

The number of medial professionals fell between FY 2013-14 and FY 2014-15. The number of doctors at PHC's reduced by 7% while the numbber of specialists at CHC's reduced sharply by 30%

By Suraj Radhakrishnan

Bangalore, Oct 6: The Public Health Centre (PHC) in Nayandhalli has only one doctor and one nurse. They are severely understaffed; they lack blood testing kits in an area rampant with tuberculosis forcing slum-dwellers to pay large sums of money to private hospitals.

Dr. Shoba and her team on one nurse and a security guard are all the staff the government could provide for 13 wards in the city. There is only one PHC for 13 wards, for a population of 92,600.

"There are 15 slums in the wards assigned to me. These areas are very unhygienic and require constant checkups. I have to conduct a five day program in slums and I am unable to do them because of lack of staff." Dr. Shoba, member of Accredited Social Health Activist ASHA program, said.

"I do not have any kits in place here. I am sanctioned 100 National Urban Health Mission (NUHM) kits which I have not received. The rapid testing kits we get under NUHM are very useful for detection of infectious diseases. Even the basic medicines I have here is donated by NGO's." added, Dr. Shoba.

Under NRMH rules say that 59 percent of the budget of a PHC should be allocated to ‘Mission Flexi Pool’ which includes all the equipment and kits. Karnataka’s allocation averages in the year 2015/16.According to PIP NUHM reports the funds allocated were less than 31 percent. 

The clinic does not have its own blood testing kits. Patients with any other illness other than common colds and fevers are referred to 'Hi-tech hospital' nearby. 

“The Government hospital here doesn’t function. We have to go to Basvangudi or Victoria for treatment. We mostly go to Hi-Tech hospital or Popular Hospital for any problem” said Shanthi, resident of Ambedkar Colony.

“The government hospital nearby does not have any doctors. It has just the facilities a PHC has. I go there once in a while to look at patients or emergencies” Dr. Shoba said.

Under National Health Mission (NHM), every city under the NHM program must have at least 1 PHC per 30,000 people. This figure has been set calculating commuting time of 30 minutes to the nearest PHC.

“There is a big violation here; we are forced to treat 3 times the number of patients we are funded to handle. We are supposed to have 1 doctor and 3 nurses with 2 support staff, we have a total of 2 employees”,said,Sripriya Madhavan, nurse at Nayandhalli PHC.

“My husband has T.B. We keep going to Hi-tech for our treatment course. I’ve spent 10,000 this year already on this. The condition of health in this neighborhood is deteriorating because of the living conditions in slums.” said Malathi.P, resident of Ambedkar colony, one of the 15 slums that fall under this PHC.

Dr.Subramaniyam , MBBS , specialist in communicable diseases, said "blood testing is a basic procedure. A city like Bangalore should never face a shortage of a simple blood test kit. Every PHC should have kits and lack of it shows poor planning and flow of funds."

"The number of diseases in slums is 20 to 30 percent higher in urban areas. One doctor for 15 slums is very bad. There needs to be an update, improvement and transparency." He added.


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