Deplorable Public Health Infrastructure : NHRC issues notice to Centre and States

The National Human Rights Commission has taken suo moto cognizance of the media reports  and has issued a notice to the Chief Secretaries of all the States and Union Territories and to the Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India to submit a report within six weeks and four weeks respectively upon the inadequacy of healthcare facility.

The Commission has observed that a large number of deaths of innocent people are taking place due to lack of proper health care, manpower, infrastructure and due to administrative failure, across the nation. The Commission has recounted the loss of lives in Muzaffarpur (Bihar) due to Acute Encephalitis, in Gorakhpur due to Japanese Encephalitis, carrying of dead bodies by family members on their shoulders because of non-availability of ambulances, incidents of delivery of babies in front of the hospitals due to negligence and non-availability of doctors and death of newly born infants and other patients due to failure of oxygen supply etc.

The Human Rights Panel has reminded the Centre and the State Governments of Article - 21 of the Indian Constitution which guarantees Right to Life. Supreme Court of India in its various judgements has observed that Right to live with human dignity is a part of Right to Life. Therefore, the Commission said that it is the constitutional duty of the government to provide citizens with the proper health care facility.

The Commission has also directed the formulation of teams consisting of doctors on the panel of the Commission along with the officers of the Commission. Teams will visit hospitals, primary health care centres and other health facilities in vulnerable States ,one by one starting with Bihar, U.P., Haryana and Punjab,  to conduct on-the-spot fact-finding investigation.

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