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Unfilled posts, poor equipment have hit MCH functioning: survey report

Staff Reporter

AIDWA finds major anomalies in hospital services

KOZHIKODE: Unfilled vacancies and lack of proper equipment has hit the functioning of the Government Medical College Hospital (MCH) Kozhikode, a detailed survey conducted by the Kozhikode district committee of the All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA) has said.

The hospital set up in 1957, is the only referral centre providing free specialist care to patients in the six northern districts. The MCH primarily comprises three major units for administrative convenience — the medical college hospital, the Institute of Maternal and Child Health (IMCH) and the Institute of Chest Diseases.

Inadequate posts

The lack of adequate number of posts of staff nurses, paramedical staff, nursing assistants, and last grade workers has been a major anomaly, according to the survey. The survey has pointed out that the staff pattern continued to be the same as in 1977. Vacancies of those retiring were not filled with the result that more than 350 posts are vacant. More than 94 posts of doctors have not been filled. The functioning of the hospital involving cleaning operations for conducting surgeries has been affected.

The MCH lacked MRI scanners, a vital diagnostic tool. Despite the Government sanction accorded for setting up an MRI scanner, no steps have been taken to install the facility.

According to sources in the Radiology Department, if the superior MRI scanner is set up at the MCH, it will be possible to conduct a scan at Rs. 2,500 besides providing the facility free to 30 per cent of the patients.

The survey pointed out that the Kerala Health Research and Welfare Society (KHRWS), which had provided assistance only in setting up the cancer radiation machinery was charging a high fee. Earlier this facility was provided free.

Similarly a hefty fee was being charged for angiogram, examination and surgeries. Facilities for testing vital blood parameters did not exist at the MCH.

Hormone tests for instance cost Rs. 700 outside. This could be conducted at Rs. 300 at MCH. The HIV and hepatitis -B tests cost Rs. 400 to Rs. 500 outside, and these could be conducted at Rs. 100 at the MCH.

The blood bank was in a poor state. There were only three doctors, and nine technicians. Equipment too was lacking.

The blood bank functioned only up to 12 p.m. and was creating difficulties for patients coming from far away places.

Nursing care

As many as 25,000 to 30,000 deliveries were conducted at the IMCH a year. In place of one nurse for two infants, there were only two nurses for 70 infants. While the number of patients seeking gynaecological care had increased from 19,614 in 1977 to 2,45,000 in 2004, there had not been a corresponding improvement in the number of doctors, staff and operation tables. Patients in need of hysterectomy have to wait for years.

The immunisation programme which was conducted everyday earlier was now being conducted only thrice a week and that too at a distant centre. The HDC meanwhile had increased the fee for all tests, rest room, parking, post-mortem certificate and visitors pass. Even the assistance available earlier to poor patients from the HDC was not being provided now. Under the circumstances the AIDWA has appealed to the Government to take immediate measures to improve the functioning of the MCH.

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