SRINAGAR: Built by Britishers on a hillock to ensure serene and clean environment to the patients suffering from respiratory problems, the lone Chest Disease Hospital located in Dalgate area of Srinagar is everything but clean and quite. An unbearable stink welcomes you to the hospital and you can’t enter without stepping over heaps of garbage.
Raised on Rustam Giri Hillocks, the hospital was a sanatorium where Tuberculosis (TB) patients were supposed to inhale fresh air, for there were no anti-biotic available that time to cure these patients. But today the hospital has everything except fresh air.
The hospital has virtually become a fish market with number of vendors selling all kinds of junk food and eatables just outside it. There is no check on smokers as a lot of men blowing smoke can be seen inside the premises. A fence is all that separates the hospital from the market.
About 400-500 patients visit the Out Patient Department (OPD) of the hospital for various respiratory problems almost every day. However instead of getter better, the patients go home with number of infections. CD hospital is no more a healing place. Cobwebs and hoar of accumulated dust narrate the sordid tale of unhygienic conditions of hospitals where patients are supposed to get well. “The sweepers sometimes clean the hospital. Sometimes they skip their duties and nobody asks them why,” says a staffer of the hospital. The flaky and discolored walls of the wards present a grim look.
Apart from filthy indoors, the hospital management has even failed to keep its surroundings clean. Cotton wads, syringes and other garbage coming out of the hospital is scattered on the hilltop. Stray dogs rip through the garbage and devour the leftovers. A dustbin is a rare sight in the hospital. Attendants are seen throwing garbage on the hilltop as there is no body to stop them.
Washrooms of the hospital are simply unusable because of stink and litter.
“Ideally you need have a clean environment for patients with respiratory illness for they are prone to infections. But today’s Chest Disease hospital is not a place for TB patients, because the kind of atmosphere it offers to patients is unhygienic,” says an expert of respiratory diseases. “Earlier the hospital would offer pure and fresh air to patients as it is located on a hillock. But today there are chances that if patient is cured of the respiratory illness, he might catch other infections in the hospital,” he adds.
Medical Superintendent of the CD hospital, Dr Nazir Ahmad Shah while talking to Kashmir Reader said, “We lack staff for sanitation here. We have sent the requisition, but no staff has come as yet. We have also taken up the matter with Srinagar Municipal Corporation. They have promised that sanitation of the hospital would be taken care of. But nothing has happened so far.”