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Health alarm for rural Jharkhand

Far-flung areas of the state don’t have access to proper health and education owing to reluctance of medical staff to work and dearth of teachers. But the problem can be addressed through advocacy, awareness and participation of communities.

This was the common observation of speakers at a state-level media advocacy meeting on health and education held at a Ranchi hotel on Thursday.

The workshop was organised by Society For Participatory Action and Reflection (SPAR) in collaboration with Nav Bharat Jagriti Kendra (NBJK) and Child In Need Institute (CINI) and supported by Oxfam India.

The speakers urged the media to help change the scenario through constructive criticism and extensive coverage of the issue.

According to project-in-charge of SPAR Binod Kumar Horo, a major problem witnessed in the villages of three districts in particular — West Singhbhum, Hazaribagh and Gumla — was the reluctance of doctors posted there to work.

“Although the doctors have been appointed by the state, they do not show much interest in delivering their services in remote areas,” Horo said.

Besides, limited stocks of medicines affect the villagers badly.

“There are no alternative arrangements. Generic medicines at lower prices are hardly available,” he added.

Other major bottlenecks observed in health sector were lack of awareness among villagers about benefits of institutional delivery.

“In villages, we still experience expecting mothers preferring home delivery despite the presence of Mamta Vahans,” Horo said.

On the educaton sector, state co-ordinator of Leads India Ranchi Jharkhand Mahendra Kumar said that the Right to Education Act was not being properly implemented due to acute shortage of teachers in the villages.

“According to RTE norms, there should be one teacher for every 40 students. But that is not the case in the villages. Another major hurdle is lack of toilets and language problem at entry level, which deters the students from attending schools,” he added.

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