Just a kilometre, away from Indira Gandhi Pratisthan in Lucknow where the PM Jan Arogya Yojana-Ayushman Bharat scheme is launched at a grand function by Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik on Sunday, a doctor handling patients at ‘Critical Care Unit’ of the government run Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) Combined Hospital draws a blank when asked about the scheme.
“We have no information on this,” he says. There is not a single banner or hoarding of the scheme at this hospital or at the adjoining Ram Manohar Lohia Institute of Medical Sciences, forget an ‘Ayushman Bharat’ kiosk or ‘Ayushman Mitras’, who are supposed to guiding patients.
“Ayushman Bharat? There is a PM Jan Ayushdi Kendra…Are you talking about that?” a doctor in the maternity ward at RML Combined Hospital asks. An ASHA worker, Raj Kumari, has wheeled in a pregnant woman Kamini from Munsipulva village for a C-Section operation and says she has registered about a 100 people under Ayushman Bharat but says she got no incentive for it. “Name of Kamini’s family was missing from the Ayushman list I got,” she says. Those manning the enquiry counters here are clueless too.
Such a situation seems inconceivable if one has heard Naik and a battery of UP Ministers speak at the launch function a bit earlier at noon.
Naik called Ayushman Bharat as the “Mount Everest” among all Modi Government schemes while Minister of State, Health in UP, Mahendra Singh said 374 government and 305 private hospitals stood empaneled, 1400 Ayushman Mitras were in place and the scheme would cover Six Cr people of 1.8 Cr families in UP the highest for any state.
At the Sanjay Gandhi PGI Hospital in Lucknow, did find some Ayushman Bharat infrastructure to be in place.
However, it takes over an hour at the RML Combined Hospital to find one doctor who has heard of the scheme he is one handling patients in the emergency ward and attending to one Pyare Lal in the Resuscitation area, who has been brought in gasping in a government ambulance from Gonda district.
“See, I have heard that an Ayushman Kiosk will soon come up to make people aware. Right now, there is nothing. The scheme has just been launched today…it will take time,” the doctor says, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “We know nothing about this scheme,” Lal’s attendant told.
At the adjoining government-aided RML Institute of Medical Sciences, where treatment is not free unlike the RML Combined Hospital, Ramanand Kherwar has come from Siwan in Bihar on Sunday for getting his daughter treated for a brain clot. The scheme is said to be portable across states.
“I did see some Ayushman Bharat banners at the traffic intersection nearby where there seemed a big function. But no one at the hospital has told me about it,” Kherwar said. He then walked to the “Admissions and Discharge” counter here where the person manning it said he had no information on the scheme.
A doctor in Surgical Oncology Ward at this hospital said neither has any patient walked in so far under the scheme nor is the scheme operative. “We send patients covered under government schemes to Room No 61 for financial advice,” he says. that room was locked, as it was a Sunday.