Negligent healthcare for rural Indian children?

A short note on Komal Ramdey’s experience of being a part of health care camp at Goondiya, Gujarat.

Of all the forms of injustice, inequality in healthcare is the most shocking and inhumane. These words of Martin Luther King kept echoing through my mind along with the phrase that all of us are taught at school, that India does not live in its towns, but in its villages. What we weren’t taught however, was that much of India does not live happily and healthily.

Komal Post 1

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Goondiya is a village in Walia Taluka of Bharuch district in Gujarat. It is 70 kilometres away from the city of Ankleshwar. A closer look at the stunningly beautiful images of  Jowar(Sorghum) fields rippling in the wind and children playing games in the village campus, will reveal that a quarter of those people working in the fields are chronically starved and half of those children playing are permanently stunted through malnutrition.

The Primary Health Centre (PHC) at Goondiya organised a health care camp and I was fortunate to volunteer in it. This health camp was aimed at promoting health awareness among school children regarding common ailments, nutrition, hygiene and sanitation. Around 400 school children participated in this.

Firstly, an ASHA (Accredited social health activist) worker started the check up process by taking height and weight measurements of these children. Later the PHC nurse carried out the general check up and provided medicines to those suffering from fever, cold and sickle cell deficiency. She also told the children about oral hygiene. After the complete diagnosis, it was found that most of the school-going children were suffering from malnutrition and common problem of stomach ache. Also, children here suffer constantly from cough and cold allergies. Improper food habits, prevalent amongst most of them, have led to the deficiency of iron. The burden of disease and its effects were disproportionately seen in the school-going kids, with a clear gradient in illness.

This camp taught me that there is a massive level of lack of nutrition and a vast unmet need for curative health care among the school-going children. Further, the neglect of their health has aggravated the miseries of rural people!

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