An Audit of the Health Sub Centers (Phulwari Sharif, Patna)
At Seva Setu, our efforts are two-fold in ensuring that existing government infrastructure reaches the last mile: one line of our effort involves hand-holding and providing innovative interventions to make existing infrastructure work better and the other involves strong advocacy to urge relevant stakeholders in improving the existing infrastructure.
In an attempt at our advocacy – we were curious to know how the state’s Health Sub Centers were functioning. The HSC, as envisioned by the National Rural Health Mission, is meant to be the first point of contact by the community for basic healthcare. An Auxiliary Nurse and Midwife (ANM) is supposed to man these clinics and treat and dispense non-critical cases, referring the critical ones to the Primary Health Centers (PHCs). These centers are normally located in every panchayat as against the PHCs, which usually cover one block. By the design of it, it rightly should reduce the load of footfalls happening at a PHC.
When we went around to see what’s going on, we found a different story. Of the 15 HSCs we visited in a span of 2 weeks recently, we noticed 13 of them to be closed. On speaking to the locals there, we realized this has been the case for a long while now.
HSC at Suitha: Unknown to the locals, this HSC neither has the required stock nor is visited by the locals. All of them prefer to head to the nearest PHC, which is a good 10km from this place.
Some highlights from our study –
- 13 out of the 15 HSCs were closed.
- Of the ones open, there were expired tablets kept in stock.
- One of the HSCs runs in the premises of a temple.
What’s worse was the people around did not know what an HSC was or why it is of use to them.
We are shifting gears into a concerted drive to get this awareness reach the last mile as well as sensitize a wider audience regarding this.
Do share this to as many you know with the hope that those who err and those responsible for its upkeep also catch sight of it. We are also working on some innovative interventions to aid the existing system in doing better – drop a line to know more!
At Seva Setu, we are actively pushing for these cases to be highlighted by the media as well. We have a detailed report on these findings. Do drop in a line if you’d like to read it or if you have ideas to share on how to increase readership.
We have now started off with a drive to evaluate the PHCs in some of these districts and highlight discrepancies we find there. Full steam ahead!