05 Mar 2024  |   06:32am IST

Street Providence inmates stage protest outside DHS demanding adequate medical facilities

Say 140 inmates in shelter homes are abandoned Goans with chronic mental issues; claim DHS and Women and Child Development Dept are playing games with them
Street Providence inmates stage protest outside DHS demanding adequate medical facilities

Team Herald

PANJIM:  Approximately 80 to 100 inmates of Street Providence in North Goa gathered outside the Directorate of Health Services (DHS) office, at Campal, to protest the apparent lack of medical facilities reaching their shelter homes on Monday. The protesters emphasized that this issue persists despite a two-year-old order issued by the DHS, where doctors and staff of the nearest PHC is supposed to attend to the inmates of the Street Providence Shelter Homes. 

The protestors have also threathened to protest in large numbers if their issues are not resolved within a week. 

Donald Fernandes, trustee of Street Providence demanded to consider their previously given order and implement it as soon as possible. He warned if this issue is not resolved within a week then “All the inmates will stage the protest outside the Department of Health and 

Services and even the chief minister’s residence, until their issues are resolved”.

“There is an order issued by the DHS in February 2022, directing the doctors and staff to visit the Shelter Homes near the PHC every 15 days and administer treatment to the inmates. When they started implementing this, we had 100 inmates, now they are close to 200 inmates. Now for two years, they have not attended to us. When the new Director Dr Geeta Kakodkar took over, we had visited her and she assured to get back. But both sides did not follow up the matter.  We do not have funds, the Department of Women and Child Development is not funding us. We have 60 women and 120 men. Women are not treated properly at the hospitals also,” Donald Fernandes, told O Heraldo.

“Our beds are going to go up from 240 to 480 soon. Both the departments the DHS and WCD which are under the same minister should coordinate better. We have 10 shelter homes across Goa out of which six are for women and two are for men and we are supposed to open two more. All of the inmates are abandoned, out of 180, 140 are Goans and they are suffering to chronic mental issues.” Fernandes stated.

"The Department of Women and Child Development is creating hurdles even when Chief Minister Pramod Sawant had told the Director Sangeeta Parab and Deputy Director Jyoti Desai to revise the budget since we are being paid at 2007 rates. They told the CM that they have money but when putting up the file prior to the 2023-24 Budget, the Finance Department said that WCD did not give any explanation and said they don't have money. That why the proposal did not feature in CM's budget. Now we are going to protest before the CM's residence so that he knows this," Donald Fernandes said. 

"Although WCD is supposed to pay in advance, the last grant was paid to us in December 2023 consisting of 7 orders for three homes which is a backlog of three years. On Tuesday (March 5) they will pay us backlog of 2 orders," he added. "Presently WCD is paying Rs 2500 per person per home for two homes and Rs 5000 per person per home for three homes," Fernandes concluded.   


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