The Gujarat High Court (HC) Tuesday asked the state government to extend better health facilities and infrastructure in tribal districts of the state,saying these districts were also a part of Gujarat.
The court passed an oral direction in this regard after the state government produced a report on its preparedness to handle swine flu cases in the state. The report showed that almost all the better health facilities were mainly available in urban centres like Ahmedabad,Surat,Rajkot and Vadodara.
A single-judge bench of Justice A S Dave has been conducting suo motu proceedings in connection with the rising number of swine flu cases in Gujarat.
The court initiated the proceedings after a few undertrials lodged in Sabarmati Central Jail moved interim bail petitions to attend to their relatives suffering from diseases like swine flu,malaria and dengue.
Since January this year,more than 150 persons have died of swine flu in Gujarat.
On the courts directions,the states health commissioner today produced an affidavit with data on health facilities in Gujarat. It stated that isolation beds,ventilators and other medical facilities and human resources were concentrated in urban areas but were found lacking in tribal-dominated districts like Sabarkantha,Banaskantha,Panchmahals,Dahod,Narmada,Navsari,Dangs,Valsad and Tapi.
According to the figures provided by the health commissioner,Ahmedabad district has 112 beds in isolation wards,Rajkot has 106,Surat 15 and Vadodara 25 in government hospitals. Against this,Sabarkantha has four beds in isolation wards,Banaskantha has two,Panchmahals has four,Dahod has 10,Narmada has five,Navsari has 10,Dangs has three,Valsad has five and Tapi has five beds.
Similarly,Ahmedabad has 121 ventilators in government hospitals. In stark contrast,districts of Sabarkantha,Banaskantha,Panchmahals,Dahod,Narmada,Navsari,Dangs,Valsad and Tapi have a total of only 33 ventilators in government hospitals.
In terms of human resources,Ahmedabad has 130 physicians and 68 pediatricians in government hospitals. However,in Banaskantha,Dahod,Dangs,Narmada,Navsari,Panchmahals,Sabarkantha and Valsad districts,there is only one physician each in government hospitals. In the government hospitals of almost all these districts,there is only one pediatrician each. In Tapi district,there is not a single physician or pediatrician in government hospitals.
Justice Dave told the state government to check its infrastructure in tribal districts in terms of emergency equipment,personnel and infrastructure. They are also part of your state. You have to change your priorities for tribal districts, the court observed.
Justice Dave also pointed out that it was possible swine flu cases were not being reported from these areas because they could not be detected.
The court has now reserved its order on the matter.