In June 2012 Human Rights Law Network (HRLN) conducted a fact-finding mission in Bihar, India to seek first-hand knowledge concerning the implementation of National Rural Health Mission’s (NRHM) guidelines for standards in public health care facilities. The fact-finding team consisted of two representatives from HRLN and was accompanied by Devika Biswas, a health activist from Bihar Voluntary Health Association, who acted as guide and translator. The fact-finding mission took place from the 30 May through the 5 June, 2012. The team visited a total of 23 health care facilities in five different districts.
According to 2011 Census data, Patna covers an area of 3,202 square kilometres and is the most populous district in Bihar with a total population of 5.8 million. As of the 2001 Census, the District’s population includes over 700,000 Scheduled Caste members and 9,236 Scheduled Tribe members and more than half of the District’s population lives in rural areas. Patna has one of the lowest sex ratios in the state, with only 892 women for every 1,000 men.
The facility was mostly empty except a small storage room with a few containers in it. The floor was covered in dirt and trash. There was no running water, no tables, and no refrigeration for vaccines. The ASHA arrived there a few minutes before the team and was trying to clean the place before the team could see it. According to the ASHA, the facility is only open some days and the schedule varies. The ANM only works on Thursdays because she has nine AWCs she must visit for vaccines and must travel over 70 kilometres to the SHC. Thus, she finds it difficult to work more at the SHC.
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