KOCHI: Even as the protest launched by the Hospital Development People’s Committee before the Munambam Primary Health Clinic enters the 500th day, it seems the voice of the people living in and around the area is yet to trigger a reaction from the authorities concerned. According to G R Devan, a member of the committee, the indefinite dharna is being staged before the clinic seeking facilities like in-patient treatment, a doctor on night-duty and ambulance service.
“All these facilities were available at the hospital when it started operations. But over a period of time, official apathy and neglect ate into the infrastructure leaving the hospital looking like a derelict,” he said. The hospital began as a dispensary in 1977, he added. Later on, as a result of the efforts of the people and the panchayat, the dispensary metamorphosised into a hospital which had all the facilities required for a standard medical establishment.
However, the hospital got classified as a Primary Health Clinic after, as per the official standpoint, the number of OP cases dropped, said Benedict, chairman, people’s committee. “It has been just around eight years since the demotion happened. It is such a waste of infrastructure facilities,” he added. According to him, this is the only hospital that is accessible to the people living in and around Munambam. “The hospital had a functional minor operation theatre and an ambulance had been procured with the help of finances secured from sponsors. It even had a doctors’ quarters. All these facilities were procured through people’s initiative. But no everything is rotting away and people have to travel to distant places to get medical help,” he said.
“In 2005, we built the doctors quarters after it was pointed out that the lack of a residential facility is the reason behind non-appointment. In 2007, we got four doctors to treat out-patient cases. There was even a doctor who was available at night,” said Benedict. He said, “It is sad to see that a hospital that can accommodate 70 in-patients and also has 18 extra beds has been relegated to being a PHC.” Today the structure that houses 18-beds has crumbled and the beds have been eaten up by rust.
“This place is a disaster prone area. After Ocki when a body washed ashore, it had to be carried to the General Hospital in the city. However, it should be noted that the hospital has a room that has all the facilities to carry out postmortems,” he said. The lab, set up at a cost of Rs 50 lakh, too is underutilised, he added. It is high time authorities took note and initiate steps to remedy the situation, said Benedict.
However, District Medical Officer M K Kuttappan said, “Facilities will be provided under the Ardram project, the PHC will be converted into an FHC and all facilities like the presence of a doctor till 6 pm will be provided.”