A wake-up call for Kerala

The Asian Age.

Opinion, Edit

There are as many as 55 primary health centres with NQAS accreditation in the state.

Shehala Sherin

Even political rivals of Kerala’s LDF government will give the Leftists credit for their performance on two fronts — general education and public health. Over 45,000 classrooms have gone hi-tech in the past three and half years, each room with proper furniture, mounted projector, laptop, etc. The government has pumped in money to the public health system by improving infrastructure in government hospitals and appointing new staff. There are as many as 55 primary health centres with NQAS accreditation in the state.

But all the good work failed to come to the aid of Shehala Sherin, a Class 5 student of Sarwajana School in Sulthan Bathery in the northern Wayanad district when she suffered a snakebite; a neurotoxic snake was supposed to have been hiding in a hole in the classroom! A doctor at Suthan Bathery taluk hospital confirmed the snakebite, but suggested she be taken to Kozhikode medical college, about 3-4 hours away, as the hospital had no ventilator to put her on should the child face complications while being administered anti-snake venom. She died on her way.

The whole episode demands that the government, while pressing ahead with introducing global standards in education and healthcare, take a deep breath and assess the ground realities. Hilly Wayanad, a new tourism hotpot in Kerala with its cool climes and coffee estates, has been a backward district all along. The state, being ruled by the Left Front, which is wedded to egalitarian principles, must ensure that its most backward areas get adequate care while the rest of the state climbs its way up.