Sanjeev Kumar Patro

Bhubaneswar: Even as State Energy Minister Dibya Shankar Mishra very ambiguously stated that only 12 'medicals' in the State are without electricity till date, the moot question is what does the minister mean by 'medicals'.

In Odisha's health hierarchy, the State has health Sub-Centres (SC), Primary Health Centres (PHCs), Community Health Centres (CHCs), District Headquarter Hospitals (DHHs) and Medical College and Hospitals (MCHs).

While the number of SCs total at over 6,800, the number of PHCs and CHCs are 1,305 and 377, respectively. Besides, it has 30 DHHs and around 5 MCHs.

Though the Minister quoting the data with Discoms (Distribution Companies) informed the House that electricity connection is given to 1,500 'medicals'. Only 12 'medicals' have no power connection. And they belong to mainly tribal and backward districts.

However, data available with the Health department puts the real picture in perspective.

Odisha has around over 6,800 health SCs. These are the first tier of health unit in villages. And data with the State Health Department reveals that a high of 36 per cent or over 2,500 have no power connectivity.

Similarly, the data shows around 11 per cent or around 143 PHCs have no power facility till date.

However, all the CHCs, DHHs and MCHs in the State have power connectivity, the data reveals.

Significantly, the available data also shows that over 22 per cent or 287 PHCs don't have water supply. Similarly, nearly 36 per cent health SCs in the State have no water supply.

Even, accessibility to around 3 per cent SCs and around 1 per cent PHCs is nearly impossible as they are not connected with all weather and motorable approach roads.

The biggest casualties  of the lack of these basic amenities are the health centres (SCs and PHCs) in rural Odisha which is why they fail to function 24X7. This deprives people of seeking emergency health needs.

And the negative outcome is villagers seek treatment from quacks in these areas.