OPD wa­ter coolers go dry, ba­sic med­i­cal ser­vices af­fected, pa­tients & docs cry foul

Mail Today - - FRONT PAGE - By Priyanka Sharma in New Delhi

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.

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