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Children’s hospital begins work

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In safe hands: A child being fed by his mother at the Regional Advanced Paediatric Care Centre in Mangalore on Saturday. —
In safe hands: A child being fed by his mother at the Regional Advanced Paediatric Care Centre in Mangalore on Saturday. —

Sudipto Mondal

The multi-speciality paediatric set-up will cater to eight districts

Operation theatre, OPD ward yet to be commissioned

Rs. 1 crore sought from district

in-charge Minister

MANGALORE: The dream of a full-fledged Government Paediatric Centre has reached its logical end.

The multi-speciality children’s hospital, which was supposed to start functioning in February 2007, is finally open to the people. The hospital will now cater to children from eight districts in the region — six from Karnataka and two from Kerala.

While Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa expressed his inability to visit the centre and formally inaugurate it before August this year, the hospital has already been inaugurated by children.

A team visited the unit on Saturday to find it echoing with the cackle of little children.

They were all around and at their mischievous best: sliding down the railings, going up and down the elevators, playing the ancient game of running and catching.

Five-year-old Uday Gowda, who was being treated at the Government Wenlock Hospital until now, was perhaps one of the most vivacious of the children in the corridor.

“I like this hospital. There is more place to play…I also like the lift (elevator). Uday has been diagnosed with leukaemia, commonly known as blood cancer. He has been undergoing chemotherapy for the last five months.

Named the Regional Advanced Paediatric Centre, the hospital, better known simply as the “Makkala Aaspatrey,” (children’s hospital) has been built at a cost of Rs. 9 crore. The Infosys Foundation donated the building which it built at a cost of Rs. 6 crore. The hospital has been furnished with equipment worth Rs. 3.5 crore by the State Government.

Paediatrician Shataram Baliga told this correspondent that the only work remaining was the commissioning of the operation theatre, the out-patient ward and the neo-natal intensive care unit which is meant for children below one year of age. As of now, the paediatric ICU, three paediatric wards and a surgical ward are functioning. There is very little that differentiates this centre, meant for the economically weaker sections, from five-star private hospitals.

The rains have, however, not failed to play spoilsport. The ceiling in the washroom right next to the operation theatre has developed a leak. The room has a musty smell with fungal growth. “That is the reason we are not able to commission the operation theatre,” says District Surgeon J. Prabhudeva.

He hoped that the problem would be sorted out in the next few days.

“The District Surgeon has also requested district in-charge Minister Krishna J. Palemar for an additional Rs. 1 crore to meet the hospital’s further needs.

Mr. Palemar has not yet given a clear signal on the supply of medicines. “There is no shortage right now, but we need funds as a back-up,” Dr. Prabhudeva said.

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