Why doesn't one prefer to go to government hospitals for treatment, despite the best of medical practitioners being available there?

The several reasons could include poor diagnostic facilities, substandard medicare or negligent para-medical staff, but the biggest reason turns out to be insanitary conditions in the hospitals, especially the stench that envelops the hospitals mainly due to improper maintenance of toilets.

In what could be termed as a bold move to tackle the pestering problem of sanitation in government hospitals, authorities have roped in private agencies for cleaning up and maintenance of hospital buildings now.

Since October 1, sanitation personnel engaged by private contractors have begun working at teaching hospitals in the capital and elsewhere in the State.

The argument in favour of taking up Private Public Enterprise (PPE) project for sanitation in government hospitals is that it would make cleaning staff accountable. The ‘casual' approach towards sanitation shown by class four employees in government hospitals and inability of authorities to make this staff ‘accountable' are being cited as reasons that forced authorities to opt for private partnership in respect of maintaining cleanliness at least.

No complaints

The new project is already under implementation in all teaching hospitals in the capital, including Gandhi, Osmania, Niloufer, Institute of Chest Diseases in Erragadda and in all maternity hospitals. Patients are sceptical but not complaining. “At present things are looking good because it is a new project. They are taking up mopping regularly. We can only hope that it will not be discontinued quickly,” says T. Ravindra Babu, an inpatient at Gandhi Hospital.

Government doctors, house surgeons and junior doctors have welcomed the move. “We do not endorse all PPE projects and yet it makes sense to employ private people for sanitation.

There is no procedure to punish erring class 4 employees and they can't even be transferred to other hospitals. Sanitation is very important to attract Arogyasri patients,” doctors maintain.

The Arogyasri scheme is also one of the major reasons for such a move.

“We are certain that more Arogyasri patients, in due course, will come to government hospitals for treatment. The new sanitation policy has come into effect since October 1 and we are observing the project closely,” told Director of Medical Education (DME), T. Ravi Raju to The Hindu.

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