Delivering a baby, getting a cabin ordeals in GMCH
By our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, June 19: Where will the poor go to for treatment and health care in Tarun Gogoi’s ‘developed Assam’? In district after district across the State, the conditions of government hospitals and health centers have deteriorated shockingly in less than a year since Dr zrul Islam took over as Health Minister. And the rot has set in right at the top, in the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH).
Poor, would-be mothers coming to the GMCH’s Obstetrics and Gyecology ward undergo an ordeal atop the pains of childbirth. A stench permeates the ward, the walls dirty and dismal. No clean bed-sheets or pillow-covers are provided, so they have to make do with dirty mattresses. The cleaners do not touch the bed or change bed clothes unless paid by patients to do what comes within their duty.
Then there are the two toilets and bathrooms in this ward for 95 patients and their attendants. Imagine the chaotic rush since early morning to use these two bathrooms for answering ture’s call, bathing, washing clothes as well as utensils. There is no separate waste bin for throwing left-over food. The toilet doors are falling apart, difficult to close. The toilets are not cleaned regularly.
Everywhere in the GMCH, irregularities of all sorts provide unforgettable if miserable experiences to patients and attendants. Take the paying cabins of the hospital, for instance. Constructed for general patients, these are now the exclusive preserve of rich, VIP patients. Applying for paying cabins involves waiting for almost 10 to 25 days, whereas ‘special reference’ through some high GMCH official or government ‘backing’, will eble booking such cabins immediately for indefinitely long occupancy. Surprisingly, while many patients are waiting for their turn to get paying cabins, most cabins in the building remain empty.
As for water in these paying cabins, patients have to wait till noon for the taps to run, because the hospital still depends on the municipal water supply. The hospital does not have its own water source. One 65 years old patient staying in a paying cabin said: “We have to wait till 11 am to get fresh water, so we have to store the supply water in bottles for use next day. The sweepers come to clean up only after the taps begin to run, creating much chaos. Many times water does not come for the whole day and then we have to suffer much.” As a result, many patients avoid bathing or washing clothes.
Another patient rued: “We have paid for the cabins according to rule, but do not get the facilities. The workers are unfriendly and negligent. During night, there are not sufficient technical persons, so if any patient develops a problem, he/she has to wait till doctors come other buildings or in the morning.”