While some hospitals have made arrangements for the stay of rela to patients, they are too little, too less and too shabby

Every month, Kishan Raj accompanies his younger brother Mohan from his hometown in Raichur to the MNJ Cancer Hospital (MNJ hereafter) here for the latter’s chemotherapy sessions. Their mother invariably accompanies them. For someone who ekes out a living on daily wages, Kishan can’t afford a hotel and the hospital choultry is his last resort.

“It [the choultry] is congested and seldom cleaned; drinking water and toilet facilities are not proper, but we don’t have an option. There are fans here, but it is still hot at night. So, I sleep on the pavement outside while my mother is inside,” he says.

There is no privacy for a bath, wash clothes, perform ablutions or sleep properly.

These are some of the tough conditions that attenders and relatives endure while their near-and-dear ones undergo treatment in various government and private hospitals here. Hospitals do provide shelters for the needy but they are too less, too little and often shabby.

The choultry at the MNJ has fans, toilets and free cooking gas, but it is just not enough to support the influx of patients. Likewise, the Basavatarakam Indo-American Cancer Hospital and Research Institute (BIACHRI) and the L. V. Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI) too lack adequate facilities.

Medians and pavements opposite the BIACHRI are packed with attenders cooking, eating and washing while the neighbouring KBR Park as well as other vacant spaces serve as open toilets.

This, despite the hospital providing a dormitory and food facilities to nearly 1,000 patients and attenders.

“There is a space crunch and resource shortage to support the inflow [of attenders]. The park also attracts outsiders because NGOs and philanthropists distribute free food daily,” BIACHRI’s official spokesperson said.

At LVPEI, relatives and attenders live on the pavement in front of the hospital and end up facing police harassment.

“The police do not want us to be here and hospital officials allow only one relative to be with the patient,” says Raghavendra, an attendant.

Authorities here say there is severe shortage of space.

“Allowing more than one relative is dangerous for the patient because they are prone to infections. Half our surgeries are done free of cost and we are not even enrolled in ‘Arogyasri’. Despite this, there is a space crunch,” LVPEI officials said.

MNJ authorities promise better days ahead.

“We are collaborating with an NGO to come-up with a five-storied facility to resolve the issue. The facility will have dormitories, proper toilets, kitchens, beds, drinking-water facilities and maintenance staff,” says MNJ Director Dr. T. Kannan.

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