BUDGAM: In the post-maternity ward of Community Health Centre Magam, Shubu (name changed) has given birth to her child and is recovering on a bed beneath several layers of warm bedding brought from her home.
Her husband, Manzoor Ahmad, is sitting on the bed with folded arms.
“I am shivering with cold in this ward. The heating system is installed but is not functioning since a very long time,” he said.
“The hospital was awarded for ‘best health services’ a few months ago, but patients here are still exposed to cold, darkness and complete lack of hygiene,” he added.
Both attendants and patients in the ward were angry, fuming at the authorities.
“An AC has been installed on a wall of the ward to warm patients, but the irony is that it has never been made functional, for unknown reasons,” an attendant complained.
“It seems we have been admitted to a cow shed. Like a flock of sheep, we are crammed into this ward in complete darkness during night hours,” rued a female patient, a teacher by profession.
The patients and their attendants complained that they were left on God’s mercy, without proper lighting, bedding, medicines or other basic facilities.
Talking to Kashmir Reader, a female patient from village Khag said that she was admitted to the hospital a couple of days ago, but was dismayed to find there were no facilities here.
“In the day time, several employees visit us, but as night begins, no one bothers at all. We are being forced to stay in complete darkness through the whole night,” she said.
A group of attendants said that they used the lights on their mobile phones to see their way around the hospital after dark, and when their phone batteries ran out after continuous use, “we bought a solar lantern from the market and used it for the night”.
“It is a shame for the hospital administration because they have a generator worth lakhs, but they deliberately keep it off after 10 pm,” they alleged.
A group of attendants added that the corridors and wards of the hospital are stinking and nothing is being done to clean them. “It appears that the sweepers here have been recruited for cleaning the doctors’ clinics only.”
Hassled attendants added that the washrooms are mostly out of order. “One newly constructed bathroom has been dismantled, so the load is on a single bathroom, which is now in a filthy state,” they said.
“There is an area with stagnant water near the wards, which not only stinks but also spreads infections,” they said.
“It is difficult to breathe inside the hospital,” asserted an attendant.
Block Medical Officer Dr Tahir Syed told Kashmir Reader that the power supply is negligible in winters, so when the power is switched off during night hours, the generator also goes off.
“In place of this, I have kept two gas heaters in the ward to warm patients,” he added.
Syed said that a solar system is installed but patients and their attendants often bring rice cookers from their homes and cook meals in the ward.
“It overloads the system, which frequently trips. That is why they are staying in darkness for night hours,” he said.
Syed said, “I have also asked the authorities for central heating system, and they assured me that we will get it this year.
“The pipe system of the washroom was not functioning properly. The repair men are work on it and, in next two months, all loopholes will have been overcome,” Syed assured.