Collector's intervention sought to find a permanent solution; it's a danger zone as far as sanitation is concerned
If the sanitary data gathered on Saturday is of any indication, one would imagine that the Government Rajaji Hospital (GRH) in Madurai barely manages to function due to a divine intervention.
Amidst prevalence of dengue cases, the southern districts' premier public health institution cries out for an immediate and a permanent solution to keep its premises sanitised.
Senior GRH officials seem to be clueless and helpless in taking a firm call as they need the Government's permission to take a decision on improving sanitation in the hospital premises by employing more workers on daily wages.
The prevalence of confirmed dengue cases, poor sanitation in nurses quarters/hostels and huge number of visitors every day emphasises the point that sanitation status in the nearly 2500-bed hospital can no longer be ignored.
S.Vadivel Murugan, Dean in-charge, GRH, on Saturday admitted that there is a massive shortage of sanitary workers and due to this it was forced to seek the help of Madurai Corporation.
Surprisingly, the number of sanitary workers in the GRH is what had been fixed in the pre-Independence days. While the required number is 250 sanitary workers, it has only 54 right now on duty of which some workers go on casual leave, change the shift or are on medical leave. A few workers are also deputed to the nearby trauma care centre or elsewhere thereby leaving the main GRH campus in disarray.
“This hospital was originally meant for 700 in-patients. But the number has now gone up to 2,250 in-patients and hence the volume of patients/ their attenders and general visitors has increased manifold. This puts a burden on sanitation, drainage, water supply, toilets, canteen and overall cleanliness. There are some inherent problems which have to be rectified soon,” opines A. Pragadeswaran and K. Thiruvaimozhi Perumal, both Resident Medical Officers of the GRH.
For instance, the sanitary wing staff at the hospital had complained on Saturday that they could not do anything due to shortage of staff. On June 5, a drain was blocked affecting 20 wards and the available sanitary workers were deputed to clear the mess there.
“We have 60 wards and we have just 54 workers on duty every day. A conservative requirement is at least 85 male sanitary workers for a hospital of this size. We hope some steps will be taken to get sanitary workers on contract basis,” says a GRH sanitary official who is ready with a list of urgent requirements.
Hospitals authorities have pinned hopes on the new District Collector Anshul Mishra who began making surprise visits to GRH to set things right.
“This is virtually in a danger zone as far as sanitation is concerned. Since we don't have adequate number of workers to clean up the premises, the available workers will first be sent to operation theatres and emergency wards. As a result of that, the other works are not being attended on a daily basis,” a supervisor said.
Dr.Vadivel Murgan has said that the first massive cleaning programme in GRH campus was started on Saturday with the help of Madurai Corporation which has deputed sanitary workers to clear up the garbage, food waste and other debris.
Fogging, anti-larval spraying and other mosquito control activities were taken up at the initiative of District Collector. “Corporation officials have promised to undertake cleaning work on every Saturday. Along with their workers, our sanitary staff too would be involved in the massive cleaning task,” he assured. Chlorination of overhead water tanks also were being given attention besides cleaning of the wards.
GRH authorities are planning to have a discussion with the Collector to work out a permanent solution on sanitation aspects.
“Give us male sanitary workers and we will show the results. The hospital must provide funds to pay wages to those workers because in some cases, the hospital did not pay them for months together. Unless we do that, the cleanliness drive will remain just a photo opportunity for officials while the GRH will continue to stink,” a senior supervisor lamented.
Keywords: Government Hospital