SAPTARI, April 26: Shyamdevi Mishra of Tilathi-Koiladi-1 reached a health post at Chhinnamasta Rural Municipality for check up after feeling exhausted. When health workers found out that she had low blood pressure, they suggested her to drink Jeevan Jal, an oral rehydration mixture.
As there were no pharmaceuticals nearby, Shyamdevi requested the health workers to provide her a packet of Jeevan Jal. But even after searching every drawers of the health facility, they could not find Jeevan Jal for her.
Shyamdevi had come to Chhinnamasta temple to attend upanayan (a rite of passage) ceremony.
"The health worker who checked her blood pressure told the helper to find a Jeevan Jal more than three times but he returned empty handed after failing to find it,” said Ashutosh Mishra, nephew of Shyamdevi. At last, they were left with no other option than borrowing sugar from a nearby house to prepare the mixture of salt, sugar and water.
The health post at Chhinnamasta is one of the oldest health posts of the district. Around one thousand people come here for treatment on a monthly basis, according to Ajay Kumar Jha, chief assistant health worker at the health post. Though other health workers introduced him as the acting chief of the health post, Jha revealed during an interaction that he is not the acting chief.
"As there are no senior health workers, I have been entrusted with this responsibility. But I am actually not the acting chief here,” said Jha. According to him, the person entrusted with the responsibility of chief of the health post is working in District Health Office since a long time. He laments that he has not been able to provide health service to people despite his will. "It would not have been a problem for us to provide medicines to the poor patients if we had medicines. But we don't have medicines at the moment," he said.
The number of patients is really high in the health post also because it lies nearby Chhinamasta temple. "A large number of pilgrims visiting the temple come here for checkups. In fact, we also conduct health checkups on the temple premises," Jha added. But lack of manpower and medicines often pose problem during the checkups.
After the local elections, the responsibility of inspecting and monitoring health organizations have been handed over to the local units but that has not brought much change in their condition. As stated by health workers, the local unit has paid no attention to procure medicines and equipment for the health institutes.
Meanwhile, Surya Narayan Mandal, chairperson of Chhinamasta Rural Municipality claims that the local unit is making plans and policies to manage health organizations."It will take time for us to resolve the current problems as there are lots of problems," he said. One and half years ago, the then chief of the health post, Raja Narayan Thakur, was transferred to the District Public Health Office. Since then, he has shown little interest to return back to the health post.