By Avani Choudhary:
We visited the rain basera outside the AIIMS premises as a part of our Master’s in Communication assignment on January 6, 2018. Our objective was to see the arrangements there. We had also planned to interview some patients to see how they cope with staying outside the hospital in this bitter winter.
Some people we talked to informed us that they are provided with quilts and mattresses in the rain basera on the deposition of Aadhaar cards or after showing the out-patient department slips. These baseras have been set up by the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB), an agency of the Delhi government for the convenience of patients.
There are four such shelters outside the twin hospitals of AIIMS and Safdaurjung, catering to about 1000 odd people. The Delhi government has also launched an app on smartphones using which ordinary citizens of Delhi can help the homeless people through the mobile vans of the DUSIB.
The shelters are run in collaboration with the NGO, Prerana, where the people are also provided tea and biscuits every morning.
Some families were of the opinion that if the waiting time for consultations with the doctors is reduced, these rain baseras can be used more efficiently as the flow of patients can be streamlined. Some families informed us that they have to wait for months for a single consultation with doctors. This means that if these people are provided with consultations in time, we can reduce the number of patients who are living this way, and more people can avail of these facilities provided by the government.
We talked to a couple, Mohhamad Kadri (57) and Safeena Bano (55), who had come from Bareilly because the doctor there had referred them to AIIMS.
While the man had a problem related to his psychology, the woman was frequently suffering from fevers. These people adored the facilities provide by the government. However, they complained about the toilet facilities. They said that they are not allowed to use the toilets – and can only use them when they pay for it, whereas they are supposed to be free facilities.
The man further informed that he is worried about the date of consultations because he has come from his village, which means that he is not able to take care of his farming activities. Furthermore, it is very expensive for the family when they come for treatment. In this way, they are doubly hit as their income takes a hit, and they have to spend money for travelling and staying.
The Delhi government has also released a mobile app to find the nearby rain baseras (or night shelters). It is called the Rain Basera app and can be downloaded from the app store. The government has also pressed mobile teams into service to rescue the homeless during winter.
You can get more information here.