Neither swacch nor nirmal, GMCH suffering from 'cleanliness deficit'
By our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, June 18: Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi took to Nirmal Asom close on the heels of Prime Minister rendra Modi launching Swachh Bharat. But the State government’s cleanliness drive stops dead in its tracks at the entrance to the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH).
Let alone a patient and attendant, even a casual visitor enters the GMCH campus with a sinking heart. The stink and squalor is all too apparent from the hospital gate itself. The plastic dustbins are covered with spittle, overflowing with garbage. Filthy water carrying medical waste flows through a drain nearby.
The casualty department is no different. Stagnt pools of rainwater litter a side of its path overgrown with weeds. There is much overcrowding, with facilities not at all adequate to cater to around 2,000 patients and attendants who visit the hospital daily. Patients as often as not, are seen sitting or lying about on bare floors. The washrooms, meant for 30 to 80 patients in a ward, are useating. Bleaching powder is rarely used to clean its wall and floors.
Water is supplied to the hospital at 8 am in the morning. Often the taps run dry from noon, much to the annoyance of patients. Apart from medicines, poor patients have to buy ‘mineral’ water as well. Without its own water source, GMCH has to depend on PHE for water. This reporter saw aquaguards fitted in nurses’ rooms attached to the wards. Many patients rued the rough behavior of nurses whenever asked for clean ‘aquaguard’ water.
Not long ago, the kitchens in GMCH had been brought up to standard, the food supplied to patients were praised for being wholesome. But the quality of food has deteriorated steeply in the past year, while the kitchens have gone to the dogs as far as cleanliness is concerned. Food is prepared on dirty concrete slabs, churned out to the wards on greasy trolleys.
Dipak Malakar, attendant of a patient, said: “The patients are given two spoonfuls of watery dal. According to rules, patients should be given tea along with bread and ba in the morning, and tea and biscuits in the afternoon. However, patients hardly get this fare. Meat and fish are seen only in the menu.”
“We have been told that bas meant for patients are often eaten by monkeys. We see cockroaches running all over the food trolleys. There is a lot of monkey business going on here,” added Malakar. For patients and attendants, there is further mortification at night when the hospital campus turns into a haven for stray dogs.
This is not all. There are numerous allegations that many hospital employees treat patients like dirt. Bed clothes are rarely washed, and hapless patients dare not complain.
The GMCH supposedly spends around Rs 18 lakh a month for ‘clean upkeep’. But where is the money spent? If the amount is spent properly, why does not it reflect upon the hospital’s ambience?
By keeping the offices of the GMCH superintendent and the college principal spick and span, the hospital authorities try to get the message across to people that all is well. But the poor patients and their attendants lolling about in the wards know better.