Even today, a number of health care facilities across the country lack basics like clean water, decent toilets, and good hygiene. Thus, WaterAid India initiated a dialogue with senior officials from the health departments in Uttar Pradesh to discuss the issues and seek appropriate solutions.
Rogi Kalyan Samities (RKSs), also known as Hospital Management Committees, were introduced in 2005 under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), with the primary objective to improve the functioning and service provision at the Health Care Facility (HCFs), namely the Primary Health Centers, Community Health Centers, and District Hospitals. RKSs play a critical role in ensuring improved water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities at HCFs, and in developing a grievance redressal mechanism as well.
In September 2017, WaterAid India along with its partner organised a workshop in Chitrakoot, Uttar Pradesh, to ensure the overall functioning of the RKS at the district level. The workshop saw the participation of around 50 officials, including the Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Acting Chief Medical Officer (ACMO), Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Block Programme Manager (BPM), Block Community Process Managers (BCPMs), Medical Officer-In-Charge, amongst other NRHM officials.
As an outcome of the dialogue, some of the significant decisions taken by the CMO were:
- To mark a health centre as a role model, ensuring water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities in the health centre with set responsibilities and accountability, thus inspiring others to work in the same way.
- Regular meetings with the RKS members to be scheduled, to ensure better water, sanitation, and hygiene services in the health centres as well as the community.
- In order to keep the health centres clean, every member will be made responsible by conducting a half an hour inspection to ensure cleanliness, every day.
- Create awareness amongst the community members about cleanliness, and involving them in keeping the health centre clean. Penalties will be imposed on those who do not follow the cleanliness guidelines.
- The overall infrastructure of the health centres, including toilets, urinals, handwashing stations, drinking water units, operation theatres, patient beds, and other rooms, should be kept clean at all times.
Clean water, decent toilets, and good hygiene are essential for everyone, everywhere; primarily at health centres across villages. With the ultimate aim to reach out to the community members, and help improve the health care facilities, the formation of Rogi Kalyan Samiti is a good initiative, provided the objectives are met in time, and responsibilities are well defined.