Let us try to know in brief about the activities already undertaken, ongoing activities and activities to be undertaken in future in the field of public health.
1. Charity Hospitals Campaign
We undertook drive related to Charity Hospitals through the medium of Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS). Let us know about the same in brief.
A. Serious flaws observed on inspection of hospitals in 15 districts of Maharashtra
Few restrictions have been imposed on hospitals run by Public Trusts aided by Maharashtra Government under its scheme for welfare of people under which they are expected to provide certain health facilities. Hospitals from 15 districts were inspected to check if citizens were getting benefits under the Government’s scheme when following serious flaws were observed.
- As per requirement, 10% beds in these hospitals are to be reserved for patients below poverty line and 10 % beds to be offered at 50% discount to patients from low-income group; but beds were not kept reserved for such patients.
- Board giving information to patients about Government schemes was not displayed at all or not displayed on front side of the hospital for people to see.
- Committee inspecting charitable hospitals had not submitted its reports to Charity Commissioner and Maharashtra Government during last 4 years.
B. Efforts made by ‘Samiti’
- Awareness created through press conferences and staging demonstrations ! : The ‘Samiti’ held 5 press conferences on this matter and staged demonstrations in 9 districts submitting memorandum.
- ‘Samiti’ filed for information under RTI once again in December 2019. It was observed that the Committee had neither held even a single meeting after ‘Samiti’s findings nor had it visited any charitable hospital to check on facilities given to patients. On 10.12.2019, ‘Samiti’ held a press conference at Mumbai and demanded dissolution of the inactive Committee of expert doctors.
- Petition filed in Mumbai High Court: HJS has filed a petition in April 2018 in Mumbai High Court’s Sambhajinagar (Aurangabad) Bench through ‘Hindu Vidhidnya Parishad’ against extreme mismanagement in charitable hospitals and inactivity of Committee set up by Maharashtra Government.
- KEM Hospital, Pune: After the drive, ‘on line’ update is given and a board on Government facilities has been displayed after lodging of complaint.
2. Mismanagement at Sindhudurga District hospital exposed through RTI
Information was obtained on posts of doctors lying vacant in Sindhudurga District hospital; non-availability of technicians despite having equipment and it was published in ‘Dainik Sanatan Prabhat’ and other newspapers. The elected representative of the district also took note of the same.
3. Bio-medical Waste Management
As per Bio Medical Waste and Environmental Protection Rules, every hospital should meticulously follow rules for management of bio-medical waste. It was observed that management of bio-medical waste was not happening in government hospitals at Mumbai, Thane, Pune and Raigad districts of Maharashtra.
A. Exposed inefficient management of Alibaug District Hospital, Penn Dy. District Hospital in Raigad district and of Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB).
B. ‘Samiti’ had lodged a complaint with Konkan’s Commissioner demanding action against the two hospitals for inefficient management. Officers of MPCB didn’t keep a check on their working and control over them; therefore, complaint was also lodged with MPCB’s member Secretary.
4. Complaint lodged with Goa’s Food and Drugs Department against companies manufacturing ointments
It has been observed that tubes of ointment manufactured by many companies are half-filled and there is only air in the other half of the tube. Few medicines are extra-sensitive which can lose their effect on coming in contact with air; therefore, tubes should be fully filled with ointments. A complaint was lodged through a representation in this context with Food and Drugs Department of Goa Government by enclosing samples of few ointment tubes. Goa Government sent the representations to Food and Drugs Department of respective States where those companies are situated, for further necessary action. In the next stage, representations would be sent to Food and Drugs Department of those States for follow up.
5. Impose ban on dangerous medicine ‘Ranitidine’
Memorandum was submitted to Food and Drugs Department, Goa for this demand.
6. Campaign for applying rates as approved by Maharashtra Govt. to government and private blood-banks
Maharashtra Government has approved certain rates for blood available at government and private blood-banks and for blood-tests. A campaign was started to check whether the approved rates were applied. It was observed after checking 32 blood-banks from 10 districts of Maharashtra that higher rates were charged than approved rates by some blood-banks; e.g. one bag of blood should be available for Rs.1450/- in private blood-banks but some blood-banks are selling them for Rs.2000/- each.
We have undertaken drive in lawful manner, for the demand that action should be taken against such blood-banks.
7. Representation was submitted to Union Health Minister demanding to take action against ‘Stryker’ Company
US based ‘Stryker’ company has offices at Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata. This company provides equipment for Orthopedic Implants to big hospitals. The Head Office of this Company in US had conducted audit and found that its Indian counterpart had managed tenders by paying money to doctors, giving them travel fares and other donations in hospitals like AIIMS and Safdarganj etc. News was published about breach of regulations. Representation was therefore, submitted to Union Health Minister for taking necessary action against this company.
8. Creating awareness about food adulteration
There is lot of adulteration in food items these days which is harmful for human body.
A. Memorandum submitted to Education ‘Pradhikaran’ and Balbharati: The ‘Samiti’ made a demand through memorandum submitted to Education ‘Pradhikaran’ and Balbharati, for including in school curriculum, training on identifying adulteration of milk and food items.
B. Awareness created through articles and flex-boards: Articles have been published in ‘Dainik Sanatan Prabhat’ and through display of flex-boards on this subject. Guidance has also been given to people on how to approach Food and Drugs Administration if anyone has such experiences.
9. Creating awareness about difference in cost of medicines by pharmaceutical companies and undertaking campaign for the same
The Government should have control over prices of medicines; but that is not happening; therefore, we have to pay many times more than the manufacturing cost of medicines. Representations were submitted to Union Minister for Health, State Minister and Health Secretary demanding reduction in cost of medicines available in wholesale and retail market. Such representation was also submitted to 6 MPs and few former Secretaries. Flex-boards on the subject have been prepared and put up during Ganesh festival by contacting festival committees about profit earned on sale of medicines.
10. Fixed Drugs Combination
Under the concept of ‘Fixed drugs combination’, Union Government has imposed ban on 700 medicines made in combination with harmful drugs. This ban was lifted by High Court but petition is pending with Supreme Court on this issue. We have to study at least 10 such medicines out of 700 and create awareness towards Government’s policies, their drawbacks and effects. Our seeker-doctors are studying this matter and are writing articles to create awareness amongst people.
11. Providing first-aid and medicines to flood-stricken people
‘Samiti’ conducted first-aid camps and provided necessary medicines to flood-affected people in Kolhapur, Sangli and Belgaum districts of Maharashtra and Karnataka during recent floods.
12. Drive creating awareness towards increasing evil tendencies in Health field
‘Samiti’ is working for preventing increasing evil tendencies in the field of health. Awareness is created through articles written by seekers, well-wishers, devout Hindus and others about their bitter experiences in health field. Awareness is also created during festivals through distribution of handbills, flex-boards etc.
13. Proposed drives
Exposing negligence in government health institutes by patient welfare committees: To create awareness through articles; to give memorandum to Charity Commissioner demanding uploading of information and accounts of all patient welfare committees on the website of Charity Commissioner and to follow up the matter for compliance by them.