Unlike earlier, fewer people consume food in the wards and corridors: doctors

More than a week after an Amma canteen was opened at Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital (GH), there is visible difference in the hygiene condition on the hospital’s premises. Unlike earlier, fewer people consume food inside the hospital wards.

“The number of those consuming food inside the wards and in the corridors has reduced after the canteen has opened here,” said a doctor at the hospital.

Apart from patients’ attendants and visitors, hospital workers too have been found making a beeline to the canteen that was opened on November 20.

“I used to spend at least Rs. 30 on lunch, a few days of the week, or eat at the hospital canteen. Now, I get lunch for Rs. 5 and this helps save a lot of money,” said Lakshmi (name changed), a hospital contract worker.

Another hospital worker said the canteen does not have parcel service and discourages people from bringing containers to take away food.

A member of the canteen staff said several hospital workers and security guards consume food at the canteen. “Initially, hospital workers did not want to wait in the queue citing the limited time available for lunch. But now, we have persuaded them to stand in queue and get tokens,” he said.

He said on an average, at least 600 to 700 persons come to the canteen every day.

For instance, on November 28, the canteen sold 6,411 idlis, 1,053 plates of pongal for breakfast, 938 plates of sambar rice, 532 plates of curd rice and 308 plates of lemon rice for lunch, according to officials of the Chennai Corporation

The GH receives 12,000 out-patients every day. It has 3,000 in-patients, and their attendants and visitors constitute a sizeable population.

“Sometimes, a patient gets five visitors and the number goes up if the patient is here for a surgery. Most of these visitors sit in the corridors and consume food. They end up dirtying the place. The situation has changed to a large extent now. Maintaining the cleanliness of the hospital has become easier,” said V. Kanagasabai, dean of GH.

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