A primary health centre is supposed to be the first place you turn to for medical assistance in rural India, and a health sub-centre is the bridge connecting a village to the PHC.
At Pahadi-Paragon village’s sub-centre in Maharashtra’s Beed district, an empty, worn-down room without medical staff to attend patients, is supposed to function as a Covid vaccination facility for a population of 1,800. The villagers say the nurse posted at the sub-centre doesn’t visit regularly. The last time she visited was when vaccination took place for about 40 people in the month of May.
So, whether it be a mild ailment or a medical emergency, the villagers have to hire private transport to reach the nearest hospital in Dharur taluka, 12 km away.
The nurse assigned to the sub-centre, however, claimed that she made regular visits to the sub-centre until she was called for duty at a Covid care facility in April.
The Pahadi-Paragon health sub-centre exemplifies the lack, inadequacy or inaccessibility of public healthcare that rural communities in Beed have had to grapple with even during the pandemic. It is a longstanding problem that has not been addressed despite repeated complaints to the local authorities and politicians.