HYDERABAD: Overcrowded wards, unclean surroundings and non-functioning equipment, is almost synonymous with government hospitals in the city - be it Osmania, Gandhi or Niloufer hospital.
Dust-filled floors, waste strewn all around and unbearable stench are a grim reminder of the unhygienic condition of our health institutions. This is a common scenario at Osmania hospital. Waste is dumped in corridors and sometimes even inside the wards. Emergency facilities are sub-standard and there are zero disaster mechanism in place.
The hospitals lack personnel, as well as equipment to deal with major accidents with numerous casualities. “We don’t have very good emergency facility here and a few of the machines don’t work half the time,” admitted a doctor at Osmania Hospital, who wished to remain anonymous. The female ward is in a particularly abhorrent condition as there is filth dumped inside the ward. The stench emitted from the waste inside the ward makes it hard for healthcare professionals to do their job and prolongs patient recovery period. When asked how often a health inspection takes place, Dr K Anjaiah, RMO, Osmania Hospital said: “It is an ongoing process. There is no specific date and time for inspections to take place and we make sure everything is constantly monitored.”
The situation at Gandhi Hospital, though marginally better, is no different. With lack of staff, several wards are overcrowded. Emergency services are equally inefficient and even skillful doctors would not be able to treat patients, with the kind of equipment available. People were seen spitting tobacco and littering the corridors. To make things worse, people are deprived of proper drinking water facilities as all the water purifiers are defunct. The lifts too do not work and patients are forced to climb the 11-storeyed building.
To say that the bathrooms are pathetic is a severe understatement. Most of them don’t even have taps and there is no water inside the bathrooms. “It is certainly possible for someone to fall sick by being exposed to the germs inside the bathroom. The staff bathrooms are equally bad,” confessed a paramedic in the ENT ward.
Even though the premises are much cleaner compared to Osmania Hospital, an area in every floor is marked to dump filth, which keeps piling on, emitting an unsavoury odour inside the corridor.There is no account of the number of attendants per patient or visitors allowed inside and many attendants are seen occupying plenty of space outside the ward. Visitors are allowed to walk free and they can easily bring dust from outside and infect the vulnerable patients. Officials, however, presented an arrogant and pompous demeanour when confronted with questions on hospital standards. When asked as to when the last health inspection took place, an official from the Superintendent’s office remarked, “Why should we reveal such information to you?. How is it of any concern to you?”
In case of Niloufer Hospital at Lakdi-Ka-Pul, a ‘Swachh Niloufer’ campaign takes place every Wednesday, so the premises are relatively much cleaner. However, it is a completely different story in the emergency ward. Garbage is dumped outside the emergency section despite their ‘Swachh Niloufer’ campaign. While sanitary conditions are marginally better than other government hospitals, the hospital still has a long way to go before reaching respectable standards.
With chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao promising to improve quality of hospitals in the state, he certainly has his task cut out and needs his men to work over time to achieve respectable standards.