“I had a headache and felt like vomiting when I went into the museum. My eyes too started watering,” a private medical practitioner Dr Narayana Rao says.
The Health Museum at Nampally Public Gardens, the only one of its kind in the entire country that was established in 1948, is in a pathetic condition and, ironically, in Dr Rao’s view, a visit to the museum is not good for public health.
The museum, functioning under state health, medical and family welfare department, has been completely neglected. In fact, it has been running without power, water supply and maintenance funds for the past two years. It does not even have the minimum requisite facilities. And the building is listed in heritage buildings in Hyderabad.
Without formaldehyde (a chemical used for preservation of biological specimens), medicated jars containing foetuses and human organs, which are around five decades old, have almost dried up and the place stinks of decomposed human parts.Charts with detailed biographies and contributions of famous scientists are torn and faded.
The museum is divided into two sections- nutrition and child birth & motherhood. The information available in the books and exhibits are almost outdated. The place also boasts of a lecture hall, but has no sound system. As for electricity, the wiring in the building is as old as the museum itself. Medical training officer and incharge of the museum Dr B Jeevan Raju laments that not one senior official of the department, leave alone a minister, has visited the museum.
“Sadly, though the state government had allotted `58.16 lakh as maintenance grant for the purpose of undertaking repairs in 2009, barely `8 lakh was spent. Much of it went into painting and repairing the exteriors. The rest of the amount never reached the museum,” he explains.
Another official at the museum says, “Whenever we approach the health, medical and family welfare department officials with complaints, they assure us that they would visit the museum and do the needful. But no one has bothered to pay us a visit.
” Visitors, though, continue to visit the museum and give complaints, particularly during the weekends. On an average, about 1,000-1,500 students and research scholars visit the museum every week. The government is currently spending about `25 lakh per annum on the salary of the staff in the museum- one medical training officer, one health educator, three health supervisors and four Class IV employees