Bundi, Rajasthan, India – At first glance, Radha Bai and Hira Bai do not appear to be crusaders. On a September afternoon, the two frail and elderly women, their heads veiled by the loose ends of their brightly coloured saris, could be heard raising loud slogans outside the administrative offices of the district of Bundi, in the western Indian state of Rajasthan.
They were demanding their rights to compensation, leading a group of 80 widows whose husbands worked in mines and had succumbed to what the locals call the “curse” of this region – the fatal respiratory disease, silicosis.
Soon after the death of 70 infants in a tertiary care hospital in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh (UP), made the headlines last month, similar stories began to pour in from across the country. Ninety children were reported to have died in two months in Rajasthan’s Banswara district hospital; in the month of August alone, 55 children had died in Maharashtra’s Nashik Civil Hospital and 49 in UP’s Farrukhabad District Hospital.
Tragic as these deaths were, they were hardly unusual, IndiaSpend found on visiting half a dozen primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare centres in Jharkhand, another state that reported numerous infant deaths. Doctors told IndiaSpend that such seemingly high child death figures were routine for the months of July and August, when infections peak and already overburdened hospitals are unable to cope.
Courtesy: The Hindu
Pollution from the Jhamarkotra mines poses a threat to waters near and far, and also causes severe health issues in the miners. Why is there no post facto environment impact assessment?
Huddled in the Aravali range in the southern part of Rajasthan about 26 km from Udaipur, is the largest reserve of phosphate in India. Also known as the Jhamarkotra mines, it is the only commercially exploitable rock phosphate deposit in the country. Phosphate is crucial for the sustenance of fertilizer plants but is available here only between 380 and 600 m below ground level, which can only be reached through deep excavation. The phosphate reserves came up for digging in 1968 when the Rajasthan State Mines and Mineral (RSMM) Corporation initiated open cast mining in the area. The mine, which covers an area of 18.44 sqkm and is divided into eleven blocks, contains approximately 74.68 metric tons of rock phosphate. The land was acquired in the late 1960s and then prepared for mining.
Courtesy: Your Story
Niti Aayog and the Union ministry for health and family welfare have proposed a model contract to increase the role of private hospitals in treating non-communicable diseases in urban India. The agreement, which has been been shared with states for their comments, allows private hospitals to bid for 30-year leases over parts of district hospital buildings and land to set up 50- or 100-bed hospitals in towns other than India’s eight largest metropolises.
According to the model contact, the district hospitals will need to share their back-end services such as blood banks and ambulance services with the private players. The state government could also provide part of the funds needed by these private players to set up the new hospitals. The district health administration will ensure referrals for treatment from primary health centres, community health centres, disease screening centres and other government health programmes and ventures are made to these private hospitals.