Ratlam, Madhya Pradesh: Carried by her father on a bike, an IV needle in her arm and a saline bottle in her mother's hands, a four-year-old was driven 30 km to a hospital in Ratlam, Madhya Pradesh on Wednesday. She did not survive. Jeeja, whose parents lived in Nandleta village, was suffering from high fever and the local health centre had referred her to the big hospital.
Her father Ghanshyam a daily wage worker, asked the health centre to arrange for an ambulance to take her. But the health centre refused.
Ghanshyam did not waste any time. He called a friend and they decided to ferry the sick child to the hospital on his bike. As his friend drove, he sat as on pillion, his wife Dinabai sat behind him holding the IV bottle. But when they reached Ratlam government hospital, the doctors declared Jeeja dead.
After the matter was reported in the local media, the acting Collector of Ratlam, Somesh Mishra, ordered an inquiry. The report said the primary healthcare centre in Sailana had only one ambulance and that too had broken down three months ago.
The lack of proper ambulance and hearse facilities in rural areas has been in focus since the heart-breaking images of a Odisha farmer Dana Manjhi, carrying his dead wife on his shoulder walking home shocked the nation in September 2016.
A month later, a senior professor of the Aligarh Muslim University died while waiting for an ambulance for hours. In December last year, a 14-year-old, who was battling kidney failure, died in Kanchipuram after waiting for an ambulance to take her to a hospital in Chennai for nearly seven hours.