Unkempt wards, clogged toilets cripple Mother & Child Care unit

With 400 deliveries a month, centre at Civil Hospital grapples with staff crunch

Unkempt wards, clogged toilets cripple Mother & Child Care unit

Washrooms are in a poor state at the Mother and Child Care unit of the Civil Hospital. Sarabjit Singh

Aparna Banerji

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, February 16

Corridors riddled with waste, stinking lavatories and crowded wards, with attendants lying on floors and patients on their beds, is the sight which greets a visitor in the Mother and Child Care unit of the local Civil Hospital.

The Mother and Child Care Unit is riddled with pressures of a busy centre (Jalandhar’s maternity unit is second or third in terms of patient footfall and deliveries of babies in the state). A formerly 70-bed ward, which grappled with patients and a large number of deliveries, now has a three-storeyed building, complete with a pre-natal, post-natal, post-operative and paediatric wards.

As seen in the busy 9 ‘0’ clock shift – wards are clogged with waste with only a lone safai sewak and clogged bathrooms lying unattended due to shortage of sanitation workers. While repeated letters have been written to the Medical Superintendent seeking sanitation workers and security guards – adequate staff still eludes the ward. The staff also report regular brawls with unruly patients littering the corridors.

Mandeep Singh, a patient’s attendant from Nurmahal said: “We have been here for four days and the situation is deplorable. Nurses and sanitation workers behave like SHOs and never address issues. Bathroom water supply is cut off every night between 11 to 12 and patients are either forced to get water in bottles from outside or forced to go in the open. We personally have been asked by workers to give Rs 500 to Rs 1,000 as ‘vadhai’ after the birth of the baby.”

While the sign ‘Men are not allowed inside’ bore the entrance to the ground floor of the mother and child care unit (housing wards, staff rooms and labour rooms) – male relatives and outsiders roam in the corridor and wards freely.

The mother and child care unit has two staff nurses in a given shift (three shifts in a day comes to six staff nurses a day) and merely two sanitation workers in a day (none or only one at night) for entire three floors. With 20 to 30 deliveries a day (400 in a month) the busy unit lacks staff, sanitation workers as well as security guards, regarding which repeated comaplints and requests have been already made.

What the officials say

Dr Kulwinder Kaur, SMO, PP unit said: “We need more security guards. Guards are needed at every floor. And safai sewaks are also required. Patients urinate on floors and on stairs at times. We are even thinking of roping in an NGO for civic sense awareness. Bathrooms are often clogged due to sewerage issues. The sanitation workers do their bit but we need security guards and sanitation workers on every floor. Attendants also don’t listen and lie on beds. At least two to three ward attendants, security guards and sanitation workers are needed on each floor. Unless that happens, the problems will persist.”

Medical Superintendent Mandeep Kaur could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.

Civil Surgeon Gurinder Kaur Chawla said: “The MS is the administrative head of the maternity unit. Addressing the issues is her job. However, we will issue a letter to her regarding the same”

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