Uttar Pradesh, the fifth largest state in India, and the world’s most populous country subdivision is also one of the most virile agricultural and industrial regions of India. Alas, such is the tragedy of UP that it still suffers with one of the highest infant and child mortality rates in India.
Uttar Pradesh faces health and moral challenges beyond imagination as we inanimately witness its demise from substandard to downright abysmal. Women safety in places like Noida cries for more attention day after day as the state continues to suffer with one of the highest crime rates in India.
In 2012, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav boldly declared that he has ‘inside dope’ proving that the former government swindled a hulking sum of 10,000 crores off the funds allocated to the UP-NRHM. This led to the arrests of various Chief Medical Officers and other senior officers, including IAS officer Pradeep Shukla, who were involved in the scam.
And if this ignominy wasn’t enough, the Annual Heath Survey of 2010-2011 tagged Uttar Pradesh as the state having the country’s worst health indicators. The survey also showed that every fifth mother in the state did not receive post-natal medical care and that fewer than 50% of the families used contraceptives or any other family planning methods.
With minimal prevention and control strategies and baffling lack of awareness plans issued by healthcare centers, Diarrhea continues to be the leading cause of childhood deaths in Uttar Pradesh, Full immunization rate in Uttar Pradesh remains the lowest in the country, Polio continues to be an endemic, Chronic iron deficiencies haunts the women and anemia tortures their little ones.
A new dawn – Will Samajwadi Party Deliver?
Hopeful eyes seek felicity and respite through the hands of Akhilesh Yadav and as it turns out the Bicycle Prince has no intentions to disappoint. The CM merrily fulfilled the promise of free healthcare to the poor made by the Samajvadi Party manifesto during the elections. The admission fee of 35 Rupees has been scrapped from all government hospitals in Uttar Pradesh since late August. Moreover, ambulance service has been made free for the poor, pregnant women and children.
The new Government also flagged off 200 new ambulances in the August of 2012. Late in November 2012, 300 more ambulances were flagged off by Akhilesh Yadav. In March 2013, Family Welfare Minister Ahmad Hasan announced the deployment of new ambulance services exclusively for pregnant women. He further added that these ambulances can be operated through the hotline number ‘102’. [Read the full report published in TOI here]
But the brightest ray of hope comes from the 152 million USD funds secured for the Uttar Pradesh Health Systems Strengthening Project [UPHSSP] by the World Bank [Project ID: P100304]. Sanctioned by the World Bank in the December of 2011, these funds shall be utilized to improve the functionality of health services in Uttar Pradesh making it more utilitarian and cogent.
Under the burgeoning governance of Akhilesh Yadav and through active utilization of deft and dynamic health plans, healthcare in Uttar Pradesh seems to heading on an ascending path of progression. But will this ascending path venture into further enhancements or will it merely lead to a rollercoaster ride downward? Only time and the bicycle will truly tell…