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NHRC decries “deplorable” public health infrastructure

Graphic: Emergency hospital ward, India

The Commission has called for reports from union and state governments following a spate of deaths caused by inadequacies in the healthcare system.

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Thursday issued notices to the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry and all States and Union Territories over what it termed the "deplorable public health infrastructure in the country", an NHRC statement said.

The NHRC took suo motu cognisance of media reports on recent deaths across the country due to "deficiencies and inadequacies in the healthcare system".

This comes in the wake of over 100 children dying in Bihar's Muzaffarpur due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome.

"The Commission has observed that large number of deaths of innocent people including women, children and elderly persons, are taking place due to lack of proper medical care, infrastructure, manpower and due to administrative failure, across the country," the statement read.

The NHRC cited 143 recent deaths of children in Muzaffarpur as well as the loss of lives of children in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, due to the failure of oxygen supply in 2017.

"The Commission has reminded the Central/State Governments of their constitutional duty under Article 21 of the Constitution under which Right to Life is guaranteed.

Quoting the Supreme Court of India, the Commission has observed that right to live with human dignity is part of the Right to Life.

"Referring to the widespread malnutrition prevalent in several States, the Commission observed that it is the primary duty of the State under Article 47 of the Constitution to raise the level of nutrition and standard of living of its people, which the Commission observed, the State has failed," the statement said.

Date: 20 June 2019

Source: National Human Rights Commission of India

Image credits

  1. Emergency hospital ward, India - Axel Drainville, Flickr; http://bit.ly/2ZDtKWE