Grassroots Voices from Jharkhand: Where are the free medicines?

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.


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.

Sold his property for wife’s treatment in Government hospital 

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.

Free medicines will help saves lives and livelihoods

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.

Benefits from schemes not reaching the bottom of the pyramid  

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

Free medicines not available in Government hospitals

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.

Need to work in cities to afford medicines   

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.

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. 

Related post:

Grassroots Voices from Jharkhand: Unemployment and extreme poverty cause for growing Naxalism

 


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Gram Vaani Community Media develops communication platforms that give a greater voice to the people at the grassroots level. Visit them at http://www.gramvaani.org/ more

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  ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gram Vaani Community Media develops communication platforms that give a greater voice to the people at the grassroots level. Visit them at http://www.gramvaani.org/ more
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