"Largest" healthcare scheme? Modi remained mum on how Dr Khaleef Khan of Gorakhpur hospital was framed

Dr Khaleef Khan
By Sheshu Babu*
While speaking on Independence Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced launching of the world's largest healthcare scheme (Ayushman Bharat Yojana), but refused to mention anything about the pathetic medical facilities in hospitals in the country. Recent Gorakhpur incidents are still fresh in peoples' memories.
When children were dying of encephalitis, the doctor in-charge of the ward tried his best to save children by securing oxygen cylinders from private hospitals to fulfill shortage of oxygen. He used his own car and money to see that the supply of oxygen is not stopped. But all his efforts were viewed with suspicion.
An FIR was filed against nine individuals, including Dr Kafeel Khan on August 24, 2017. He was arrested on September 2, 2017 and was removed from his post. However, he got bail on April 24, 2018 from the Allahabad High Court.
In reply to an RTI activist Sanjay Sharma, the UP government accepted the reality. On July 4 this year it disclosed that two oxygen cylinders were availed from unauthorized persons, as there was shortage of supply on August 11, 2017. Not only this, the BRD College also accepted that it was former nodal officer Dr Khan who arranged six oxygen cylinders from five nursing homes.
Sanjay Sharma said that the state government did not want to share the information, as the RTI was filed on August 14, 2017 but what he received was a partial reply, and that too when he lodged a complaint with the State Information Commission. Main information was avoided citing that the case was sub-judice.
Meanwhile, Dr Khan and his family were harassed and tortured. He himself faced allegations of rape in 2015. A case was registered, but the police dismissed the allegation as false in its final report. Yet, after the incident, he was sacked for 'dereliction of duty' and 'carrying out private practice'. The medical college accused him of ' fabricating stories' in media to show himself as saviour of children.
His younger brother Kashif Jameel was shot at by unidentified persons in June this year. Though Dr Khan named BJP MP behind the attack, no action has been taken. His elder brother Adeel Khan (along with two others) was booked for forgery for opening bank account.
Dr Kaleef has expressed fears that a conspiracy is being hatched to frame him and his family. He has said that these incidents against him and his family needed CBI inquiry, or under a committee headed by a High Court judge. The family also alleged ' political vendetta' against them.
After his release, Dr Khan continues to work with determination. His intentions were made clear when he said that he would not be afraid anymore as he had gone through worst of times. "If my suspension from BRD is removed, I am ready to serve the hospital again. If not, I will open my own medical center for encephalitis with the help of NGOs. My clinic will be free and will not have shortage of drugs."
The UP government's apathy towards the healthcare of children is clearly visible. Very little has been done to improve healthcare. The Gorakhpur oxygen shortage case has not been probed fully. The state government has tried to implicate Dr Khan and brush away its inaction. It has not instituted any enquiry commission. A mechanism for welfare of children in the state is still a mirage.
Clearly, mere announcement of large-scale health insurance schemes may not solve problems on the ground. People need basic facilities to get medicines and check-up without much trouble. Natal and neo-natal care must be accessible to rural areas. Child specialists and hospitals should be available to remote area, where tribals and adivasis reside. Without basic infrastructure, launching grand policies with fanfare may not help vast majority of poor people.
Doctors must work for the welfare of their patients. Dr Khan is an example who, in spite of threats to his family and himself, has not bowed to pressure from the rulers at any stage in his life.
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*Writer from anywhere and everywhere, who believes that basic healthcare is the right of every person and should be provided by every government

Comments

Uma Sheth said…
Kudos to Dr. Khan. It is his misfortune that he is working in UP. I applaud his determination to keep doing his work IN SPITE of the meanness of the powers that be.
Anonymous said…
Doctors after medical degrees prefer to work with private hospitals than with the public hospitals. Health care needs of the people are increasing and one can’t leave the people on the mercy of their fate. The private players have to participate and the govt has to pay them for the services. It’s a win win for both. It will make the private venture viable and people will have wider net of services available. However, making the govt sector attractive will be a big challenge as shortage of doctors will continue as a problem in the public sector hospitals.