Telangana: On May 2nd, 2020, Office of the District Medical Health Officer (DMHO)-Nizamabad, issued a circular warning stern action against private hospitals for discriminating patients based on their religion and denying treatment. This followed a formal complaint lodged by a patient.

The circular read,“A complaint has been received from public that a few hospitals in Nizamabad are not examining a particular religion patients which is causing inconvenience to needy patients and health services are not provided to needy patients’.

It further said, “All the private medical care establishments authorities are instructed to examine all religions and community patients who come for treatment. If any discrimination is noticed by under signed the action will be initiated as per the private medical care establishment Act rules’. These instructions were directed to collector and district magistrate as well.

However, inquires made did not reflect a religious discrimination but of a different kind. According to Nizamabad district collector C Narayan Reddy it is a case of miscommunication between departments.

It so happened that, on the 1st of May, a corporator approached a private hospital for treatment however he was denied not because of his religion but he resided in a red-zone area. The Central government had recently marked various districts under states as red, green and orange zones based on the CoronaVirus outbreak and the current active cases.

According to the Collector, the hospital denied treatment because his residence fell in the 'red zone area'. Notably which is also a discrimination of a kind.

The following day, the corporator and his followers approached the district medical health office and lodge a formal complaint alleging 'denial of treatment based on religion'. "An altercation broke out between the corporator and the hospital which resulted in a complaint. We have asked the DMOH to issue a circular directing hospitals not to deny treatment to any patient, come what may. There was miscommunication which resulted in DMHO releasing this statement. A revised circular will be issued soon, the Collector told NewsMeter.

Coreena Suares

Coreena Enet Suares is the Editor of NewsMeter. Her stories have been published in the Deccan Chronicle Newspaper and the Asian Age. Coreena began her career as a News Anchor. Throughout her journey, she has been able to build a strong network with people from all walks of life. She is an alumnus of Edward R. Murrow Program for Journalists- Research and Investigation, a flagship initiative of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) Coreena is also a certified fact-checker by Google India Initiative. She has attended the 'Defence Correspondents Course 2019, through which she visited Indo- Pak border, besides traveling on a War-ship and insight into operations of Fighter aircraft. Coreena's focus areas are anti-crime investigation agencies and Defence reporting. You can follow Coreena on [email protected]

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