ANANTNAG: Despite fire and emergency services authorities declaring the building housing south Kashmir’s sole maternity and child hospital (MCH) at Anantnag unsafe, health authorities have failed to take any measures to shift the hospital, putting the lives of patients at risk.
Deputy director, fire and emergency services Anantnag, Abdul Rehman said the department shot a letter to the health authorities last year declaring the hospital unsafe: “During our inspection of the hospital last year we found the building totally unsafe. The building has no fire exit or other escape routes for emergencies. God forbid, if a fire breaks out in the hospital it will be disastrous.”
MCH is located in the congested Sherbagh locality of the town and caters to patients from all of south Kashmir besides Banihal and Kishtwar. On an average, about 100 babies are delivered at the hospital per day. And such is the space crunch in the hospital that two or more pregnant women are made to share a single bed.
Rehman said his department had strongly recommended the construction of a new building on the current site or shifting the hospital to some other place in town. Yet, despite apparently there being an alternative, many here feel the authorities seem least bothered about shifting the hospital. “Despite the availability of the old district hospital building in Janglat Mandi area and Rahmat-i-Alam hospital building in Sarnal, the authorities are hesitant to shift the hospital. One wonders what sort of wisdom makes them feel it is alright to keep operating from a building that’s been declared unsafe,” said a doctor on condition of anonymity. “The arrogant authorities seem to be waiting for a tragedy to happen first,” he adds, bitterly.
The medical superintendent of the hospital, Dr Abdul Majid Mirab, confirmed the hospital building has been declared unsafe by the fire and emergency services department. “It was on my request that the department conducted a safety audit of the hospital building last year during which they declared the building unsafe. The higher-ups are also aware about it,” he said.
He, however, said they don’t have any alternative site where the hospital can be shifted. On being asked about the old district hospital, which according to locals and doctors is the best alternative, Mirab said, “We cannot shift without directions from the top. The government has to issue orders for shifting.”