Unavailability of ambulance: NHRC takes cognizance of express report, notice issued to Sukma Collector, Health Department
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has taken suo motu cognizance of an Indian Express report on non-availability of an ambulance to take a couple with their dead newborn back to their home in Sukma, Chhattisgarh. The commission has issued a notice to the District Magistrate and the State Health Department.
In a letter issued on June 22 to the district collector of Sukma and the state’s principal secretary (health), the NHRC has directed them to submit a report on the issue within 4 weeks.
On June 20, Kankerlanka residents Karma and Gangi were stranded at a health center 18 km from their village with their dead child in their hands. Earlier in the day, Gangi gave birth to a premature baby at the Kankerlanka Sub Health Centre. After the child developed health issues, the parents were first referred to the Dornapal health center and then to the district headquarters Sukma.
However, the child died on the way to Sukma. After that the couple was taken to Dornapal Health Center by ambulance at around 9 pm. According to Karma, he was assured that some other vehicle would pick him up and take him to his village. No vehicle arrived till midnight, when a local journalist took them home.
Citing the details of the Indian Express report on June 22, the NHRC said it had raised “a serious human rights violation issue relating to the right to life with dignity”.
District sources said that an inquiry has been ordered. A district-level official, requesting anonymity, said, “The ambulance driver who dropped the couple at Dornapal got another call and preferred to drop the couple back home.”