Residents wondered if setting fire on waste was the right method of disposing

Dry vegetation and a section of waste generated inside the Tambaram Taluk Government Hospital was set on fire last week. Residents living in several residential localities woke up to a shock at the sight of thick smoke billowing from the premises of the hospital, better known as Chromepet GH. Enquiries by residents revealed that a section of the hospital had set the dry vegetation on fire, in an attempt to clear it.

Some hospital waste that was dumped in one corner of the hospital premises was also set on fire in the process. Though the fire did not spread outside the hospital premises, residents heaved a sigh of relief when the fire died gradually on its own.

Residents and visitors to the hospital wondered how such a gross violation could have taken place, that too within the premises of a government hospital. With in-patients at the hospital,the residents wondered if setting fire on waste was the right method of disposing it.

According to visitors, the hospital needed greater attention and support from the State Government, considering that despite the creation of two additional taluks at Alandur and Sholinganallur, Chromepet GH continued to be the most important government hospital for several thousand people living in the southern suburbs of Chennai and also in localities beyond Tambaram.

Residents living around the hospital recalled that almost every Minister handling the portfolio of Health had visited the hospital in the past, but there was no visible improvement.

Short supply of medicine

Quite often, there have been complaints of short supply of medicines and shortage of doctors and specialists. Facilities at the mortuary were woefully inadequate and even the air-conditioning system was not functioning properly.

Visitors said that there was some improvement in the maintenance of the premises after hiring housekeeping professionals. However, the most acute inadequacy in the hospital was absolute shortage of equipment and facilities in the accident and trauma care ward.

Most people involved in road accidents who come to the hospital are either referred to better equipped private hospitals in the city or its suburbs or to the Rajiv Gandhi Government Hospital in Chennai.

Officials at the Department of Health and Family Welfare said that Chromepet GH provided quality care to residents. While conceding there were several problems, there was constant upgrading of facilities and improvement of services.

Some of them included the creation of a full fledged poison centre to prevent referrals to the city hospitals, reducing waiting time of out-patients and also improving basic infrastructure in x-ray units and other laboratories. Compared to Chromepet GH, the upgraded primary health centre in Medavakkam, which is also the block-level of St. Thomas Mount Panchayat Union, is able to provide improved services, thanks to its tie-up with a non-governmental organisation and also with the receipt of a fund to the tune of Rs. 1 crore. Though it is mandatory to have a taluk-level, the State Government seems to be in no mood to establish additional hospitals in Alandur and Sholinganallur. A proposal to create a super-speciality hospital in Madambakkam by Chennai Corporation on a piece of land gifted to it by a donor has been pending for a long time. Overall, the standard of public healthcare in the city’s immediate suburbs was not on a par with the actual requirements of the people, especially those from low income groups, residents added.

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Civic issues & HealthMay 14, 2012

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