Bihar faces ongoing challenge of responding to the needs of the most disadvantaged people.
As a poverty state? Too many lack access to high quality and life enhancing healthcare. The public health facilities in Bihar still lack of specialist doctors, medicines, and basic infrastructure to tackle emergencies. One of the health risks they face is with the water, due to the lack of safe and clean water not available.Groundwater plays a critical role in India, and most rural areas are mainly supported and dependent on it. Poor environmental sanitation and unsafe drinking water leads to major health problems.
Depending on the quality of water, you can risk the amount of infections and diseases that come with the water. It is estimated that in India alone, 1.5 million children below 5 years die from diarrhoeal disease from dehydration (Mishra p.1).
The sanitation coverage in rural areas in only 14%, hence the task of providing safe drinking water becomes more challenging (Mishra p. 4). As more people gather into one place, the amount of supplies for water increases. People die because of contaminated water-related disease. These virus and diseases spread faster due to Bihar being a denser population, enabling the mutations to continue, making the water unsafe for utilization. A village in Bihar Buxar district called Tilak Rai Ka Hatta, which is a home to 5,348 people, has very high arsenic groundwater levels. Study found that most of the village had higher exposure to arsenic.
Almost 80% of the village’s handpumps contained arsenic-contaminated groundwater. Even the handpumps in school showed signs of arsenic, and the children studying there had patches called hyperkeratosis on their palms and soles, a condition caused by arsenic. The effects of arsenic was very serious in the village, researchers found that 28% of the families surveyed in the village suffered from skin related problems and as well as six cancer cases. However, the villagers still continue to drink water from the hand pumps with old filters, which is the same as drinking raw water (scroll in).
Not only is water and sanitation an issue due to the area being populated but the people also suffer from starvation. Eating is very important when it comes to being healthy and having enough energy in your body. Yet, if you suffer from hunger and starvation, the lack of nutrition may cause sickness, or even death. Development Economist Jean Dreze said, “the living condition in some of Bihar villages is more grim and horrifying than at most places in the world” He also states that “Bihar is the capital of corruption and exploitation in the world” (Times of India, Vithika Salomil). Malnutrition is especially evident to the children in Bihar and is mainly caused by having nothing to eat, nothing eating enough of the right things. It generally can cause stunting (very low height for age), underweight and wasting (very low weight for height). Of 5 million malnourished children under five in Bihar, no more than 0.3%, or one in 340, can be treated (The Quint, Indiaspend).
The treatment may last to 20 days and even after those 20 days of treatment, the children can go back to being malnutritioned again. Healthcare facilities are also a problem in Bihar, although there are private clinics and hospitals, people are afraid to go to these facilities. Although they might not have enough money they spend all their savings and loans on trying to get medical treatment. It is tragic, because the medical treatment is either life or death for them.
The greater tragedy is when these patients go to the hospital with great amount of money hoping to become healed, but receiving low quality service. Huffington post writer Abhisek Anicca says “Innocent patients are trapped by private hospitals that charge exorbitant amounts of money in return for very low-quality services.” The lack of functional healthcare system has a very negative impact on the poor, affecting them economically as well as in quality of life they have. It is important to realize that safe drinking water, sanitary facilities, and nutrition are still not available today to a large number of people. As the population continue to grow there must be way to find effective healthcare system so that the millions of people in Bihar could live a healthy and stable life.