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India has achieved independence from the British rule nearly 71 years ago. But even today we lack in the field of medical facilities provided to our citizens. In this paper I would be discussing about the lack of medical and health facilities in the educational institutions of India. Though we have many good hospitals and doctors in our nation, we still lag behind in the primary health care of students. A student’s health is of great concern be it a school going small child or a student of graduate college. Just like every other human being even they need the basic medical facilities in times of need. This paper consists of case studies done by various researchers and also some old statistical data.
Keywords: School Health, Medical facilities, School ambulance, Medical colleges, Private hospital,
A school or college is a place where a student spends nearly 7-10 hours of the day. Every school must have the basic health care necessities. But it has been observed that most of the schools and colleges do not even have a medical room in their campus which is of great necessity in times of emergency. Along with a medical room the institutions must also have an experienced nurse and a doctor for medical assistance. They are the perfect consultants when it comes to suggest medicines and perform minor stitches.
If we compare the Indian Institutions with those of foreign ones, we can definitely make out the big differences in health and hygiene the different nations have to offer. In the foreign countries it is mandatory to have a medical chamber within the institution’s premises. The bigger the institution, the larger is the reputation. This said, one must not forget that, the bigger the institution more is the expectation. Yes, the saying is correct. In foreign institutions, small medical rooms or chambers are present if the school is a normal one. But in elite or bigger schools, a nursing home or a school hospital is present for the aid of the students.
In India though, this is not the scenario. Here the saying goes on like, “The bigger the institution, the larger is the investment on the infrastructure or more is the investment in corruption”. In India people mostly think about cost cutting. In India, the condition of hospitals is too bad especially when it comes to government hospitals. On June 30, 2016, according to Medical Council of India,“India has a total of 9, 88,922 doctors but sadly only 1 doctor is available for 1,668 patients.” In such a condition the question is how to get the medical facilities in the schools and colleges? With this question I started my research on the medical and health facilities of schools and colleges in India.
The paper is mostly secondary data based. But for the primary data, I have approached the persons whose identities have been kept a secret. Apart from that, the primary data is also based on my personal observation on the topic. The news articles have also been of great help in this paper.
The school and college health services started in 1909, first time in a medical examination of school children carried out in Baroda city. Back in 1946, The Bhore committee reported that school health services were practically non-existent or in under-developed statein India. In 1953, more emphasis was given to the need for medical examination of pupils and school feeding programs by secondary education committee. In1960, Government of India constituted a school health committee to assess the standards of health and nutrition of school children. During the five year plans, many state governments have provided for school health and school feeding programs. In spite of these efforts to improve school health, it must be stated that in India, “As in other developing countries, the school health services provided are hardly more than a token service because of shortage of recourses and insufficient facilities”(Sonawane.N, 2017).
The health facilities and the sanitation measures are the two important aspects for a proper school and college environment. Though there have been many amendments in the school health system, the health system of colleges need special attention even today. The colleges lack the basic medical facilities even today. The basic medicines for health issues are provided in the college first aid but they are not satisfactory. This is what has intrigued me to write a paper.
The health problems of students differ with different age group. The problems of school students may not be the same as that of the college students. According different data collected, the problems faced by the school students are:Common infectious diseases, Skin rashes, Eye and ear problems, Malnutrition, Food poisoning, Mental stress, etc.
While among college students the problems are completely different. Today, most of the colleges are residential and have hostel facilities. The students who board the hostels face the maximum health issues. The students residing in the hostels stay far away from home to get formal education. They are on their own for any problems that come their way, be it, emotional, financial, mental or medical. Although for emotional or financial problems we can contact our close friends and family members whenever needed. But when it comes to mental distress or low health, it becomes very difficult for the students to cope up with the situation.
According to my observation majority of the students in college hostels of various regions face the following problems:
To have a more in-depth knowledge of different health facilities provided in schools I referred the above mentioned paper to get the statistical data of a previously conducted survey of school in South India. According to this data, 30 schools were surveyed by sampling method out of which, 4 were government schools, 12 were aided, and 14 were private schools. Approximately 25 schools had well connected roads and 29 had verandahs attached to classrooms for recreation. This study helped in getting an insight into the situation analysis and priority issuesof these factors in schools in an urban set up in India. This was further shown in statistical data collected about the schools(Joseph, Bhaskaran, Saya, Kotian, &Menezes, 2012). The tables are as follows:
Case 1: “A child with mild mental retardation was playing in her school with friends. The see-saw that she is on is rickety and defective. It gives away, and the child had a nasty fall, injuring her face severely. The school was unaware of how to handle the incident and calls the parents. The child was rushed to a nearby hospital and got admitted for several days. The parents alleged that medical care was not provided on time, and that the school authorities did not visit the hospital or provide any kind of support”(Pawar.D, 2015).
According to the above case, the child suffered serious injuries due to schools ignorance about safety measures and was admitted in the hospital as the school did not have any provisions of first aid or medical care. The school did not even have its own private medical consultant who could have been of some help in such kind of a situation.
Case 2: “As many as 125 children of JawaharNavodayaVidyalaya at Barahiya, Lakhisarai district, 135 km away from Patna, fell ill apparently due to suspected food poisoning in the wee hours of Friday. The students complained of suffering from nausea and vomiting at 2:30 am on Friday, several hours after having dinner at the hostel. A total of 80 students were rushed to the Barahiya Referral Hospital while 45 were rushed to the nearby LakhisaraiSadar Hospital”(India, 2018).
The above case is of school hostel mess where 125 students fell ill due to food poisoning. My question is why is there no proper food inspection in the hostels? This is not only the scenario in Patna but in most of the schools and colleges with hostels. The food is checked neither before preparing nor before serving. This becomes the major reason for food poisoning and diseases like Typhoid. Is this how the nation’s schools maintaining the sanitation measures in schools? Are the schools completely ignorant about the health of small children?
Case 3: Nearly 120 children were taken ill after eating a meal at a school in Thiruvanthapuram and were admitted in a nearby hospital. Though none of them were reported to be serious, they were discharged only after monitoring their health condition(Thiruvananthapuram News – Times of India, 2018).
The schools should understand that the children need to have a proper and healthy diet. Any manipulation with their food can be harmful for their health. In this case, the food items eaten by the student were sent for examination after the children fell ill. Had there been prior precautions, the children would not have been admitted in the hospital.
Case 4: “The death of Akriti Bhatia, a class XII student of Modern School in VasantVihar, after an asthma attack, underlines the urgent need to form guidelines on how schools should handle medical emergencies” (Bhatia.R, 2009).
According to Dr. PannaChoudhury, president of the Indian Academy of Pediatrics, “There are no guidelines for schools on how to deal with Children’s emergency health situation.”
This is what makes the condition of school health worse. It is high time for the nation to wake up and join hands on this issue. The children need utmost care when away from their home. They do not have the knowledge of medicines and health issues. In such cases the schools should be well equipped with the basic emergency kits so that they can come handy when needed. This said we must not forget to mention the words of Dr. SatishBharadwaj, medical emergency transport service, Goodman’s rescue.
According to Dr. Bharadwaj, “Every school should have a first-aid kit, an oxygen cylinder that has been checked and certified and experienced staff members at school stationed at all times”.The above cases are just a few when it comes to the lack of medical facilities in schools.
But, there are a few schools which are well-equipped for emergency situations. The GD Goenka school of Dwarka has a full time nurse and a doctor. It has a medical room with three beds(Bhatia.R, 2009). It also has tie-ups with the local hospital. The school has stretchers, oxygen cylinder and a school ambulance. The school also has a well-managed school medical record of all the students. But only a few schools have such well-equipped facilities. Accordingto minister RenukaChowdhury, “Periodical health checks should be made compulsory in all schools” (Bhatia.R, 2009).
There are many more schools which have made it compulsory to have a medical cabin and basic health amenities within the premises for the students as well the teaching and non-teaching staff. Apart from GD Goenka School, Jain International Residential School of Bangalore, Taurian World School of Ranchi, The Doon School of Dehradun, JawaharNavodayaVidyalaya of Tripura, Doon Global School of Dehradun and Sheyn International Schools are some of the schools having well equipped medical facilities in India.
This study is report has been made out of both primary as well as some secondary data. Colleges are the places where students are believed to have a hectic life. They suffer from over pressure in colleges. In such cases the colleges should follow some health measures to check the health of the students. Following are some of the case studies which shows that lack of proper medication facilities in colleges have taken a toll on the students.
Disclaimer:The name of the character, place and events are subject to change according to situation to maintain the privacy of informant’s identity.
Case 1: A girl named Prabha of a reputed management institute in Ranchi, fainted in the classroom. She was lying unconscious for nearly 10-12 minutes when the college staff entered the room. Her classmates ran all over the institute to see if they could get any ORS or glucose water but in vain. The staff did not take any initiative to provide 4-wheeler transportation for the student rather they asked the students to manage on their own.
This case was the main reason for me to start this paper. The question is being a management institute, how can they not have emergency transportation for the students? What if the student suffered some serious health problem which could have been fatal due to the institute’s negligence? I think it’s high time for Indian institutes take the health of the students seriously. Since management institutes charge a fee structure for every single thing in their course curriculum, they should have the provisions of better health facilities. Since the students are paying fees in lakhs, if needed they can pay for this as well. But, that would be highly unethical if such big institutes could not provide these basic medical facilities without charging from the students. Health is something which can rise and fall unpredictably. The institutes should be ready for any kind of emergency health situation.
Case 2: In Dehradun, the colleges have tie-ups with the local semi-government hospitals. But the irony is, the hospitals are located 10-12 kms away from the colleges. The nearby hospitals are not well equipped but the students duringemergency have no other option but to visit the under-rated hospitals as the good hospitals are situated quiet far away.
Since I have been to Dehradun, I do agree with this case. The good hospitals are not situated near the colleges and schools which becomes a major problem in times of emergency. During fatal cases the situation gets more troublesome as the transportation also gets limited. But the positive part in Dehradun is, the colleges have properly equipped first-aid box and also proper transportation facility.
The following case has been taken from secondary data of medical colleges.
Case 3: Health ministry bans 86 medical colleges from accepting fresh batch of students and the plan to open 68 new colleges also gets shelved ( Firstpost, 2018).
These 86 colleges did not have their own hospital for the students to practice. Out of the 86 colleges, 70 are private while 12 government.
Case 4: Students of 14-year old DY Patil medical college go to Rajwadi Hospital, Ghatkopar, an hour’s ride away to examine patients from second year onwards. Similarly, Students of Terna shuttle between the Civil Hospital in Thane and the Vashi Municipal Hospital for their clinical research (Mumbai News – Times of India, 2003).
Private medical colleges like the ones above are a black spot in the name medical colleges. Despite the fact that a 300-bed on-campus hospital is mandatory to set up a medical college, these colleges did not follow the rules and regulations for the set-up of a medical college. But with time the TernaCollege has developed its infrastructure and has constructed its own 700 bed hospital.
The study helped me explore the different facilities a school or college has to offer. It studies the different health issues faced by the students of schools and colleges. The case studies help in getting a better view of the Indian schooling system and facilities. The case of Akriti Bhatia is quiet painful. It is unimaginable how much the poor soul had to suffer just because of the school’s ignorance. The school and college authorities should introspect and rectify the various loopholes in the management system so that the institution can be ready in case of any emergency or fatality. No comparisons can be drawn between the Indian institutes and the Institutes abroad but then what about the good, well equipped schools of India and the ill-equipped schools of the same nation. Even after so many years of Independence, the conditions of schools have not changed. It is high time that the government as well as the institute administration should work together for the betterment of the nation’s schooling system.
I would like to thank Dr. Anant Kumar for giving me the opportunity to work on such a wonderful topic. I would also like to thank him for his constant support and guidance on the paper. I am also very grateful to my parents for helping me with their experience. I would also like to thank my fellow mates and friends who have been of greatest help and inspiration for the paper. At last I would like to thank The Almighty for giving me the strength to finish this paper successfully.
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