Srinagar: Infants and children admitted at the GB Pant Children’s Hospital are at risk of respiratory infection due to dust pollution created by unfinished civil works being carried out by the Cantonment Board outside the hospital.
According to officials, for the past one month a thick blanket of dust has engulfed the hospital located in Sonwar, ever since the Badami Bagh Cantonment Board left the drain outside the hospital gate covered with mud, and a stretch of road unrepaired.
The hospital has seen an increase in the number of patients recieved from adjacent localities, with respiratory, skin and eye infection problems at its Out Patient Ddepartment (OPD) since the Board began the construction works from Sonwar to Pantha Chowk.
“This is a serious issue we are facing. Many children who come to OPD from close vicinity have been diagnosed with upper respiratory infections during the past one month. If the road is not completed properly, it will lead to other serious problems like bronchial asthma, allergic bronchitis among kids who come in contact with the dust,” Medical Superintendent Dr Kawarjeet Singh told Kashmir Reader.
He said officials of the Cantonment Board had promised to macadamise the drain, three months ago. “Three months have passed but the Board is yet to complete the construction. The drain is open on the other side of the hospital, otherwise we would have closed the main gate and opened the other gate till the construction was complete,” Dr Singh said.
Mushtaq Ahmad, resident of Pantha Chowk, said that the condition of his infant daughter aggravated after she was exposed to the dust outside the children’s hospital on Monday.
“Earlier my daughter complained of simple fever, but she started coughing repeatedly since yesterday. Today, doctors have put her on antibiotics for respiratory infection,” he said.
As per doctors, the majority of patients grough to the hospital felt difficulty in breathing due to the heavy dust in the air.
“Apart from upper respiratory tract infections, children are also developing problems of eye infection and skin allergies,” said a doctor.
Dr Naveed Nazir, a specialist in tuberculosis and respiratory diseases told Kashmri Reader that children are at greater risk of infection due to dust and smoke.
He said Srinagar was already facing a drastic drop in air quality levels due to dusty roads. People living near construction sites were at three times more risk of developing respiratory infections, he said.
“The number of patients with respiratory problems has increased manifold in the past few years. The authorities should keep a check on accumulation of dust and emanation of smoke,” Dr Nazir said.
He said most of the patients visiting him were asthmatic, and many had eye and skin infections/allergies. “Patients with respiratory diseases are required to stay indoors as much as they can,” he said.
Recently, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Baseer Ahmad Khan issued strict directions to the chief executive officer (CEO) of BB Cantonment Board to complete repair of the road outside GB Pant Hospital from Sonwar to Pantha Chowk immediately.
He directed the board to finish the pipe-laying and macadamize the road at the earliest.
However, ten days after the Divisional Commissioner’s directions, not much progress has been made.
“I have already directed the Board officials to complete the construction immediately. They will do so in a few days,” Khan told Kashmir Reader.