HOSPITALS IN CITY NEED THIRST AID
OPD water coolers go dry, basic medical services affected, patients & docs cry foul
A CRIPPLING drinking water crisis has left patients, attendants and doctors high and dry at Delhi government-run hospitals in the sweltering summer months. The scarcity at east Delhi’s GTB Hospital even led to a shutdown of emergency services for a few days. Mail Today visited many of these medical institutes and found that potable water was either unavailable or the water dispensers were in such filthy condition that they had become breeding grounds for mosquitoes. The taps were dirty and the water flowing from it unfit for human consumption. Located in the heart of the Capital, GB Pant Hospital – Delhi government’s biggest – presented a pitiable state. The super-speciality institute, which caters to nearly 5,000 patients
a day, has just two water coolers – one near the emergency ward and the other outside the director’s office. However, the one meant for patients and visitors is out of order and the only functional water dispenser is in a dreadful state. People coming to the medical centre have no option but to buy packaged water from nearby shops.
“The situation is bad here. At best we can bring a bottle of water from our homes but that cannot meet the needs for the entire day. We have to either buy it from outside or use the same unclean water,” said an employee at GB Pant Hospital. The medical superintendent, Dr Archana Thakur, refused to speak on the matter.
The scene was no different at GTB Hospital. The only water cooler in the hospital near the outpatient department block was so dirty that people would not even use the water to wash their hands. The sink was stinking and mosquitoes were buzzing all around. This hospital has a capacity of nearly 7,000 patients in the OPD. Its medical superintendent, Dr Sunil Kumar, admitted there was a shortage of drinking water but said the problem needs to be addressed by the public works department (PWD) of Delhi government. He also said that a pipeline burst a few days ago, which led to a water crisis and subsequent suspension of emergency services.
MAIL TODAY also visited BR Ambedkar Hospital in northwest Delhi, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya (DDU) and Babu Jagjivan Ram hospitals (BJRM) in west Delhi and Lok Nayak Hospital in central Delhi only to find a similar situation prevailing. A staff member at Lok Nayak Hospital said there was a requirement of at least 10 to 12 water dispensers but just two were available.
Mani Pal, 58, had come to GB Pant Hospital to get a relative discharged. Because of the sweltering heat in the city, he came to the water cooler to refill a bottle. “No one can drink this water, it is so dirty,” he said.
“We can fall sick after drinking it. Look at the condition of the tap. We will buy packaged water from outside.”
Babu Jagjivan Ram Hospital (BJRM) is also struggling with the crisis. A senior resident said that the institute neither has a facility for safe drinking water nor adequate water supply for medical procedures.
Medical superintendent Dr Pratibha Nanda said a scarcity might occur in the summer months but the hospital administration has ensured that medical services go unaffected.
At Lok Nayak Hospital, the administration is yet to upgrade the potable water facility at various locations. Dr JC Passey, medical director, said, “I do agree that the need for water increases in summers. I will take up the issue of the shortage with the PWD. We are in the process of installing more facilities for potable water in the hospital.”
The situation is bad here. We have to either buy water from outside or use the unclean water — STAFFER AT GB PANT
The only water cooler in GTB was dirty & stinking
Drinking water facilities are poorly maintained at hospitals such as Guru Teg Bahadur (right), GB Pant and Lok Nayak.