17 years on, PHC running from primary school

Kendrapara: A health centre without infrastructure is a far-fetched idea at a time when the state government is spending crores of rupees on rural development and health schemes. But a cursory look at Badakula primary health centre (PHC) dispels any grand notions about health centres functioning in remote areas.

For the last 17 years, the PHC has been functioning from the premises of a government-run-upper primary school at Badakula in the absence of a building of its own and serving more than 30,000 people of the river-locked Badakula and Karanja gram panchayats in Mahakalapara block.

Two years ago, a structure was built for the purpose but in the absence of an approach road and electricity connection to the building the authorities are unable to shift the PHC. Without road and power the building has been standing there as a mute witness to official apathy.

According to Bishnu Charan Sahu, a local, since the inception of the Badakula PHC it has been functioning from a dilapidated dingy asbestos shed on the school premises.

Every day, 100 to 125 patients visit the health centre where an AYUSH doctor and a few health workers attend to the sick. The large number of patients visiting the health centre disturbs students.

Moreover, the clatter created by patients and their friends and relatives accompanying them is a distraction to students and hampers classroom teaching most of the time, Gopabandhu Rout, a teacher at the school, said.

The PHC would often remain closed after 12 pm, as the AYUSH doctor, Pramod Behari Pati, leaves the centre in the noon. If a person falls sick suddenly or during the night, he/she has to travel 20km to the nearest CHC at Mahakalapara. And, if the patient has to go to the district headquarters hospital, he/she has to travel a distance of not less than 30 km from Badakula, Prasanna Rout, another local, said.

According to locals, though the rural works department has constructed a building for the Badakula PHC two years ago, it is yet to be handed over to the health department. Locals alleged cracks have developed in the PHC walls because of substandard construction.

When contacted, CDMO of Kendrapara, Baishnab Charan Sahu, said the building for the Badakula PHC was constructed in a low-lying area and it did not have an approach road or power supply. So, to make the best of the situation, the PHC continues to function at the school as it is important to provide health service to the locals.

Meanwhile, a proposal has been sent to the director of health department to sanction Rs 17 lakh to construct the approach road and get power supply to the new PHC building. If the proposal goes through, the department would shift the PHC from the school to its own building, said Sahu. PNN

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