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The Sad Reason This Woman in India Had to Carry Her Husband for Weeks

Bimla Devi carried her husband on her back day after day in search of assistance in Uttar Pradesh, India.

Images of Devi’s struggle to get a wheelchair for her husband, who recently underwent a leg amputation, went viral online and ultimately caught the attention of a local government official who gave the pair a wheelchair on Wednesday — but the incident points to the larger issue of access to health care in the country.

After suffering an illness that affected his nerves, Devi’s husband, Badan Singh, had to have his leg amputated, NDTV reported. But Singh’s return to normal life has been a difficult one, especially without a wheelchair, which the couple could not afford.

Take Action: It’s Time to Deliver on the Promise of Universal Health Coverage

For weeks, Devi tried to secure a free wheelchair from the local government-run hospital, but required a disability certificate for Singh, a task that proved difficult, according to NDTV.

Devi was bumped from office to office, including the office of the Chief Medical Officer who asked Singh to appear to have his photograph taken, the India Times reported, yet no certificate was issued.

Because the couple could not afford to pay for rickshaws to travel from office to office, Devi told ANI News that she had no choice but to carry her husband and miss work in order to get him the certificate and wheelchair.

Read more: This Is the World’s Largest Unaddressed Disability — and It Affects More Than a Third of Us

Such situations are not uncommon. For many like Devi and Singh, the cost of medical attention is prohibitively high and accessing health care requires long and difficult journeys. At least half the world’s population can’t afford essential health care services and resources, according to the World Bank and the World Health Organization, and the cost of health care pushes almost 100 million people into extreme poverty every year.

Since the videos and photos of Devi and Singh’s struggle went viral, the Chief Medical Officer has issued the required disability certificate, enabling Singh to finally get the wheelchair he needs.

Global Citizen campaigns in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goal of ensuring healthy lives and the well-being of all people. Take action here to make sure everyone can get the health services they need no matter who they are, where they live, or what their income.