Burn wards memorandum: With Deputy CM of Karnataka

Memorandum to the Deputy Chief Minister – Burns wards

The Hon’ble Deputy Chief Minister

Government Of Karnataka

Vidhana Soudha

Bengaluru,

Sir,

      Sub: Establishment of Burns Unit-Hospitals-Karnataka

Founded in the aftermath of the fire that broke out in the Carlton Towers Building, Domlur, Beyond Carlton is a registered public charitable trust whose objective is to advocate and promote a culture of fire safety in the country. As part of our first initiative, we successfully petitioned the Hon’ble Karnataka High Court in W.P. 39874/2013 for guidelines for enforcement of fire safety regulations in the state resulting in the issuance of the notification dated 07th of July, 2011 for inspection of buildings to monitor compliance of fire safety regulations. Subsequently, we have been actively organising lectures and programs on fire safety in the country and remain committed to the cause of addressing fire safety concerns to prevent loss of life due to fire incidents.

With that said, we are writing this letter to you to address an urgent and pressing gap in addressing the issue of death due to fire incidents, i.e., the establishment of burns units in government hospitals in the state. We have reliably learnt that the Central Government has formulated the National Programme for Prevention and Management of Burn Injuries (NPPMBI) for establishing burns units in government hospitals across the country and to this end, a budget of Rs. 450 crores was earmarked as part of the 12th five-year plan. We are also given to believe that while 75% of the cost of setting up such burns units in each state will be borne by the centre, the balance 25% of the cost will be born by the state. A copy of the NPPMBI is enclosed for your reference.

Upon further inquiry to determine the status of the implementation of the NPPMBI, we are heartened to note that in addition to 16 other states, Karnataka has also signed an MoU with the Centre to implement the noble objectives of the NPPMBI. The unfortunate reality remains that every 5th fire-related death in the world is that of an Indian. Often times the death due to fire incidents could have been avoided by ensuring access to focused and specialised healthcare services and skin banks for burn injuries. But due to lack of subsidized accessible healthcare services for burn injuries, recent fire incidents in the country have witnessed an alarming number of deaths that could have otherwise been prevented with timely intervention.

We, therefore, sought clarifications from the Central Government on the status of the NPPMBI and learnt that the utilisation certificate for the allocated budget of 450 crores to set up burns units have not been furnished yet. Furthermore, we also learnt that under the NPPMBI, only burns unit in Mysore Medical College and Hospital has been set up in the city of Mysuru. While we are pleased that Karnataka is one of the few states to set up a one of its kind skin bank, we are also acutely aware that a singular skin bank cannot address the healthcare needs of the entire state. In addition, we also appreciate and remain grateful for the burns unit set up in Victoria Hospital in Bengaluru and the one in Mysuru Medical College and Hospital. Though it is a step ahead in the right direction, you would appreciate that a burns unit is necessary in every district at government hospitals, if we are to ensure that every 5th fire-related death in the world is that of an Indian.

Your good self has an excellent background in the field of healthcare and the government, both at the state and the centre have inspired hope of dynamic and positive changes for the healthcare needs of ordinary common men and women of this country. Therefore, with the above background, we request you to kindly prepare a roadmap and a plan and undertake the following,

  1. Setting up a burns unit in every government hospital in the State of Karnataka and also direct that every private hospital in the state should have a dedicated burns unit to provide emergency care for burn injuries.

  1. Set up skin banks across the state of Karnataka to assist the treatment of serious burn injuries.

  1. Expedite the utilisation of the NPMMBI budget for setting up of burns units in the state.

  1. Formulate a training program for healthcare service providers to treat burn injuries and ensure the availability of such healthcare professionals trained for burn injuries across the State of Karnataka.

The Constitution of India guarantees to all of us, the right to bodily autonomy and bodily integrity as well as the right to health as part of the right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution. We believe that if our requests are acceded and the above infrastructure and resources are allocated for treating burn injuries, Karnataka would take a significant step forward in ensuring that people of this state can truly realise the benefits of these fundamental rights.

Beyond Carlton remains ready and willing to assist this government in implementing these programs, which we feel is imperative to prevent loss of life due to fire incidents. We, therefore, request you to kindly facilitate and expedite these reforms and do the needful and oblige.

Thanking you,

Yours faithfully

Uday Vijayan

Managing Trustee & President

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