Around 822 PHCs in excess in terms of population ratio: Karnataka informs HC
Bengaluru: Around 822 excess Public Health Centers have been established in terms of the population ratio of Karnataka, the State Government recently informed the Karnataka High Court.
The revelation was made in a compliance report filed in response to the Public Interest Litigation filed by one Gurunath Vadde seeking to start a hospital at the gram panchayat level.
The government stated that as per the Indian Public Health Standards guidelines prescribed by the Union Ministry of Health, based on the recommendation of the Bhore Committee, the requirement is one PHC for every 30,000 rural population.
The state said that they have established 2359 PHCs till now. They claimed to have already established more than the required number of PHC's.
The states in its compliance report had noted that they would be upgrading the PHCs to IPHS standards in a phased manner, with the proposal to establish 250 Model PHCs this year already in motion.
The state had made the following submissions in the court:
- The government would be providing suitable site and Government buildings where the PHCS are being run in rented building due to non-availability of land, noting that Dilapidated buildings will be repaired as soon as possible by following the necessary provisions of the Karnataka Transparency in Public Procurement Act or new building would be constructed.
- In some urban areas, where UPSC's are functioning in rented buildings, they could continue to run in rented buildings if own building is not available.
- The stated said that AYUSH services would be integrated in all PHCS in a phased manner, with 250 PHCs being upgraded this year as Model PHCS where AYUSH Services will be provided.
- It submitted that all PHCs provide essential OPD services. PHCs provide only primary healthcare services. However, in 24/7 PHCs maternal healthcare services are provided throughout the day and 24/7.
- It is submitted that Covid patients require specialized treatment, Specialist care, Laboratory investigations and in some cases ventilatory support. Such patients are being treated at Taluk and District hospitals only. Screening, follow up treatment, vaccinations and control measures are being provided at all PHCS.
Considering the submissions, the court observed,
"the apprehension of the petitioner that there are lesser PHCs and that the rural population is deprived of health care system cannot be acceded to."
The petitioner however had argued that the state government should provide infrastructure and maintain quality in the existing PHC's. However, the state has failed to maintain the quality in PHCs and has also failed to provide infrastructure for proper functioning of PHCs, stated the counsel for the petitioner.
According to a media report in the Live Law, the court in an earlier order had directed the Karnataka State Legal Services Authority to verify the conditions of the PHC's by paying a random visit. The officials in their report had pointed to several deficiencies in infrastructure in PHCs.
The bench led by Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum pointed out that they had examined the recommendations made by Karnataka State Legal Services Authority (KSLSA).
Subsequently, disposing the writ petition, the court noted,
"We deem it fit to dispose of the present writ petition by directing the respondent/State to strictly implement the recommendations of KSLSA in terms of paragraph 9 of the report submitted by KSLSA on 21.09.2021."