A visitor, who enters the Ponnamaravathi government hospital (GH), will be impressed to see the display boards showing 28 departments. But, the shocking truth is that all the 28 departments remain only on the board as there is only a single doctor.
Ponamaravathi, an emerging town panchayat in the district with a population of more than a lakh, was upgraded into a revenue taluk three years ago. Though it has only a single maternity hospital, the taluk hospital was yet to be upgraded.
CPI district deputy secretary AL Rasu speaking to Express said the hospital served more than 200 outpatients per day and was accommodating a minimum of 15 to 20 inpatients every day, about five years ago. The hospital has a capacity of 40 beds, but here only a few stay as inpatients now. The number of out patients has also dwindled owing to dearth of doctors in most of the departments.
He said there was a time when the hospital had six doctors and many paramedical technicians. It also functioned with many facilities including X-ray. But, now only the display board saying that the hospital has 28 departments was left. The departments mentioned on the display board included X-ray, scan, ortho, VD, HIV and ECG. The hospital not only struggles due to scarcity of doctors but also lacks paramedical technicians. Despite the display board showing maternity hospital, there are no gynaecologists and anaesthetists necessary for delivery. Every time, the in-charge of the hospital seeks the service of anaesthetists from Pudukkottai GH or they send patients to Pudukkottai or Mannapparai GH.
He said the maternity hospital had no provision to do the HIV test for pregnant women. Right now the Union government, state government and WHO had announced that test of HIV for pregnant women was mandatory. But, here the order remained only on paper.
The hospital lacks facilities even to treat emergency cases like accident victims.
Rasu ecalled that the people of Ponamaravathi had submitted several representations with various government departments, besides taking up the issue with State and Central ministers. Reacting to the complaint, officials said this problem existed not only in Ponamaravathi, but throughout the rural areas of the State.