On the one side there are great health care facilities for the affluent urban class, and on the other end, there are barely any facilities for people from low socio-economic backgrounds to take care of their loved ones, even in times of emergencies or death. An appalling incident has come to light from Hyderabad, where a man had to push his wife’s body on a pushcart for 60 km, as he had no money for an ambulance.
Ramulu and his wife Kavitha moved to Hyderabad six years ago from their native place in Sangareddy Manoor Mandal. They were both suffering from leprosy. They begged for alms near Hanger Hauz in Hyderabad to earn their living.
After Kavitha’s death on Friday night near the Hyderabad railway station, Ramulu decided to perform the last rites in his native village. But to his despair, he found that he could not afford an ambulance. He put his wife’s body on a push cart and started walking. He lost his way in the night on Friday and instead of reaching his native village, reached Vikarabad in the morning.
Ramulu was exhausted, and he collapsed and broke down as he reached Vikarabad. He was wailing and soon people saw that an elderly man was weeping next to a woman’s body. People gathered around to talk to him, and he told them that he tried to hire an ambulance but they were charging around Rs 5,000 when he didn’t have enough money to even eat one full meal. The residents were moved by his plight and collected money to pay for an ambulance to take his wife’s body to his village.
The residents called the police, and with their help arranged for an ambulance from Sri Ramakrishna Vivekananda Trust.
Not the first incident and not a story of a single state
This is not the first or isolated incident. Many heart-wrenching stories have come to light in the past few months. Three months ago, a tribal in Odisha, Dana Majhi carried his wife’s dead body on his shoulders to his village, as he was denied access to an ambulance from the Government hospital. Due to inaccessible health care facilities, the poor go through such terrible ordeals. Another incident took place in Kanpur where a 12-year-old boy died on his father’s shoulders because he was denied timely access to an ambulance and medical facilities at different hospitals.
This is a problem spanning all states and there needs to be a way to provide better access and health facilities to those living in rural areas and from low socio-economic backgrounds. The case of Dana Majhi made us outraged, but it didn’t move us an inch towards fixing the broken system. This will only happen if the outrage doesn’t die after the incident and we keep demanding action from our representatives.