ANDHRA PRADESH

Government hospital lacks infrastructure

Patients waiting outside the Government General Hospital in Vijayawada on Thursday.

Patients waiting outside the Government General Hospital in Vijayawada on Thursday.  

VIJAYAWADA, MARCH 24. Rushing out of the Woman and Child ward of the Government General Hospital, Lakshmibayamma hastened her son, Raju, to buy an injection from the medical shop outside the hospital compound.

"Quick, the doctor is so impatient," she told Raju, who was relaxing under a tree. "The queue is so long that it took more than two hours for me to get my turn to see the doctor. The injection prescribed is not available with the hospital. She (the doctor) asked me to buy it outside," Lakshmibayamma, an agriculture labourer from Gannavaram, narrated her tale of woe. She is suffering from a gynaecological problem and is to be administered an injection once a week.

Venkateswara Rao, a lorry driver from Singhnagar says: "I have just sent in my aged mother, accompanied by my wife, with an injection bottle and a disposable syringe. Unlike in the past, doctors here are not giving medicines nowadays." These two cases tell us how over 2,000 outpatients and 400 in-patients have been receiving treatment.

Shortage of staff

Housed in a conglomerate of a few buildings, some of them in a dilapidated condition, the Government General Hospital is a teaching hospital attached to Siddhartha Medical College. People from every nook and cranny of the district come to the hospital. Though the sprawling compound is full of activity with patients and their attendants every morning, only a lucky few get a chance to see the doctor, while others have to come another day -- certainly not the next day -- to try their luck.

"It is an adjustment. How can a few doctors see all these patients on a single day," asks a nurse while distributing slips to the unlucky one, who come again for a check-up.

The hospital Superintendent, T. Rama Prasad, told The Hindu on Thursday that the staff were not sufficient to attend to the ever-increasing number of patients. "Over 40 per cent of posts in the hospital have to be filled," he says. Dr. Prasad said he could not provide the details of required number of staff for obvious reasons.

On medicines, Dr. Prasad said that the hospital did not have enough funds to buy medicines. "Funds from the new budget will come next month. Once we get the amount, we will purchase all the necessary medicines," he said. The Superintendent also said that proposals were had been sent to the Government for facility to add 500 more beds in the hospital at an outlay of Rs. 23 crores and for purchasing equipment costing Rs.30 crores. "The Government may allocate funds in the coming budget," he said.

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