Demand for multi-speciality Hospital in Karnataka's Uttara Kannada, trends on Twitter
Pointing out the need to create a multi-speciality hospital in the area, a Twitter user, under the #NoHospitalNoVote, observed that more than 10-15 accidents take place in the region each month but the people are "helpless".
Udupi: Following a recent accident in Karnataka's Udupi district which killed four people in a speeding ambulance, the citizens of Karnataka's Uttar Kannada have started an online campaign on Twitter demanding a super-speciality hospital in Uttara Kannada district which has been struggling due to poor health infrastructure for a long time. In the unfortunate accident that took place near...
Udupi: Following a recent accident in Karnataka's Udupi district which killed four people in a speeding ambulance, the citizens of Karnataka's Uttar Kannada have started an online campaign on Twitter demanding a super-speciality hospital in Uttara Kannada district which has been struggling due to poor health infrastructure for a long time.
In the unfortunate accident that took place near the Shiroor toll gate last week, nearly four people were killed after a speeding ambulance, transporting a patient from Honnavar of Uttara Kannada district to a private hospital in Udupi's Kundapur, rammed the Shiroor toll gate on July 20.
The social activist, Prashanth Karki stated that the ambulance was taking a patient from Uttar Kannada because of the lack of a multi-speciality hospital in the district. The Twitter users began an online campaign under #WeNeedEmergencyHospitalInUttaraKannada and #NoHospitalNoVote, which began trending on the evening of Sunday, July 24.
The majority of the tweets had tagged Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, and Health Minister K Sudhakar, and they threatened of boycotting the upcoming elections if their demands were not met.
Uttara Kannada district, which is located about 450 km from Bengaluru, has 11 taluks with an estimated population of 15.46 lakh, an estimated land area of 10.25 lakh hectares, and 8.28 lakh hectares of forest area. Even though it is one of the largest districts in the state, the residents have taken to the social media platform to complain that Uttara Kannada does not even have an emergency or well-equipped multi-speciality hospital, forcing many to travel to far-away districts or states like Mangaluru or Manipal for treatment, further endangering the lives of those who need urgent care.
Except for the government-run Karwar Institute of Medical Sciences located at the district headquarters in Karwar, which does not have enough speciality departments, there is no other form of health infrastructure in the district.
According to residents, they have no choice but to travel more than 100 km, either to Goa or Udupi for receiving medical treatment during emergency cases. While people from the Karwar-Ankola regions usually travel north to Goa, those from the Kumta-Honnavar-Bhatkal regions travel south to private hospitals in Udupi and the people from interior taluks and regions travel to locations that are comparatively more convenient or nearer.
Pointing out the need to create a multi-speciality hospital in the area, a Twitter user identified as Lohith Naik, under the #NoHospitalNoVote, observed that more than 10-15 accidents take place in the region each month but the people are "helpless".
Another Twitter user, Sachin Kumta, said, "There is an immense need for an emergency hospital in #UttaraKannada district because the hospitals are too far from here, where the patient has to play between Life and Death." Whereas another user tweeted, "Shame on You MP, People of Uttara kannada have elected u 6 times, but never cared for people. people are requesting Emergency Multispecialty Hospital & u said it's not My work."
The activist Karki observed that the residents of Uttara Kannada have been demanding an emergency hospital for more than 30 years now, observing, "This is not the first time we have taken to social media to share our grievances. But we have only received empty promises from both the Kumaraswamy and BS Yediyurappa governments." He noted that the residents would not stop protesting now unless a full-scale action plan would not be formulated and implemented.
Meanwhile, Prashant and others from the district held a silent protest in Sirsi district on Tuesday, July 26, adding that residents of the district are planning to place around two lakh phone calls to PM Modi's Mann Ki Baat program, aired on the All India Radio and other government television channels, highlighting the need for an emergency hospital in Uttara Kannada, reports the News Minute.
Stating that there is a private multi-speciality hospital in the district, Dr Shivananda B Kudtarkar, district health officer (Uttara Kannada) told the Indian Express, "But what we need is a super-speciality hospital or a branch of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). As the region and its population is scattered, the strategic location could be Ankola, which can be accessible to many of the taluks in the district."
Another health official said that the politicians renew the promises of a super-speciality hospital every time elections began nearing. The official said, "Though institutions like the Karnatak Lingayat Education Society and the Sri Dharmasthala Manjunatheshwara Institute have been established in this region, nobody is interested in starting a hospital here because the people here cannot afford to go to private hospitals. However, there needs to be comprehensive development in the district for the health sector to grow. The government promises a super-speciality hospital when elections approach, but it dies down later."
Meanwhile, after the recent Twitter campaign, various politicians have begun tweeting in favour of the demands. The JD(S) leader and former chief minister H D Kumaraswamy expressed his support for the campaign and demanded the Chief Minister look into it. Kumaraswamy tweeted, "Only a few places in the state have well-equipped hospitals. People who need emergency care will have to rush to places like Bengaluru, Mangaluru, Mysuru, or Belagavi. This amounts to discrimination in health care. During Covid-19, the government announced that all hospitals will be upgraded, but nothing has taken place. How many more have to die on roads?".
The Opposition leader and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had also extended his support to the social media campaign, supporting the people's campaign for a multi-speciality hospital in Uttara Kannada district on Sunday. He tweeted, "I fully support the struggle of the people of Uttara Kannada for a well-equipped emergency treatment system. I urge the Union and state governments to listen to the grievances of the people with an open mind and work towards solving the problem."
Following that, State Minister for Health K Sudhakar stated that as per the public demand, Uttara Kannada district needs a multi-speciality hospital and trauma care centre, noting, "I will discuss it with Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and take a decision." He tweeted that he had seen the online campaign asking for a hi-tech trauma care centre and multi-speciality hospital in Uttara Kannada district and observed that he would take up the issue of establishing the same at Karwar Institute of Medical Sciences premises with Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, reports the Hindu.
He further added, "I will also hold a meeting with all the elected representatives of Uttara Kannada district on health infrastructure needs of the district, and get an action plan prepared and implemented." The Chief Minister of Karnataka has not yet given any response.
This is not the first time the demand for an emergency healthcare institution has been raised by the residents, as they had run a similar campaign back in 2019 demanding the setting up of an emergency hospital in the district. At that time, the then Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy and the state Health Department had assured them of considering their demand. Regarding the matter, he had even tweeted, "It has come to my attention that there is a campaign going on for the need for a well-equipped hospital in Uttara Kannada district. In this regard, a report will be submitted by the officials of the health department and necessary action will be taken." However, no actions were taken after that, and the recent Twitter campaign has again brought the demand to the forefront.
Dear @narendramodi @PMOIndia @BSBommai @CMofKarnataka #weneedEmergencyhospitalinuttarkannada there is so many uttarkannada people are died in accident and more because of no emergency hospital in Uttarakannada so kindly request you to fulfill the request if #NoHospitalNoVote pic.twitter.com/PRrtZW48SL— Sathish Kumar (@Sathish84688309) July 24, 2022
It's a humble request from the people of Uttarakannada Karnataka. We need an Emergency Hospital. #WeNeedEmergencyHospitalInUttaraKannada #NohospitalNoVote— Gajanana Hegde (@gajananaHegde70) July 24, 2022
#weneedEmergencyhospitalinuttarkannada #WeNeedEmergencyHospitalInUttaraKannada #NoHospitalNoVote pic.twitter.com/nMLHaAHmLO
Revu is currently pursuing her masters from University of Hyderabad. With a background in journalism, she joined Medical Dialogues in 2021.