Mapusa district hospital still plagued by problems


 Though the 250-bedded new Mapusa District Hospital was built at Peddem by spending around ` 42 crore and the same was commissioned almost 18 months ago, various issues plagued the hospital right from day one. Even today some important issues have remained unresolved.
First and foremost, the new district hospital is yet to get a blood bank. It is reliably learnt that all necessary approvals needed for setting up a blood bank have been sought from an apex body in New Delhi which monitors setting up of blood banks in various hospitals across the country. Besides, the hospital does not have a canteen for relatives or caretakers of the patients. There is a small snack counter at the entrance of the hospital but for a full meal, one has to look elsewhere. 
Apart from these two issues, another main issue afflicting the hospital is that it still does not have a kitchen of its own. Food is cooked in the kitchen of the old hospital premises and transported to the new hospital by a vehicle which makes around 10 to 15 trips a day. Though a provision for a kitchen and a dining hall was made in the new premises, they are still lying vacant and even the laundry is being sent to the Goa Medical College and Hospital, Bambolim.
A visit to the kitchen in the old hospital premises revealed that there is no proper protection against flies, cockroaches and other insects. The kitchen does not even comply with FDA norms. Paint has peeled off from the walls and fungus can be seen from the broken tiles of the walls and above all, a tin sheet is covering the cooking platform.
According to FDA norms, the kitchen walls of any commercial establishment more so a hospital needs to have an oil-based paint not distemper paint as it peels off easily.
As per the FDA norms, the cooking vessels should be made of 305 grade steel and not of aluminium as aluminium is not healthy for cooking. Above all no safety norms like installation of fire extinguishers etc have been followed and without any safety procedures, it was found that 12 domestic cylinders were also stored in a storeroom adjoining the kitchen. The kitchen resembles a godown from outside and has no appearance whatsoever of a kitchen. Right in front of the kitchen, an ambulance (GA 01 G 0989) has been dumped as a scrap vehicle.
To add insult to the injuries, there is only one dietician managing the diet to patients of the entire hospital and so she even cannot go on leave. 
Strongly flaying the neglect towards the functioning of the kitchen of the district hospital, the deputy district chief of North Goa Shiv Sena, Mr Phillip D’Souza has claimed that no proper hygiene is maintained and it was surprising that though it is a government hospital, even FDA norms are thrown to the winds.
On the other hand, the medical superintendent, Dr Shyam Talwadkar, when contacted, said that he has taken up the need for shifting the kitchen to the new premises with his higher-ups so that the hospital could function smoothly. It was also pointed out by Dr Talwadkar that the new hospital had necessary equipment to convert the kitchen into a modern day high-tech and hygienic kitchen but claimed that he was unaware as to what were the plans of his higher-ups. Surprisingly it was revealed by Dr Talwadkar that on January 28 this year, he had organised a meeting with officials of GSIDC as they have been entrusted with the job of maintaining the kitchen but said that it was the Directorate of Health Services and the GSIDC that should have put things in order.
Enquiries with the Directorate of Health Services on the other hand revealed that a tender of ` 2 crore has been floated for carrying out minor maintenance works such as electrical and plumbing works in the district hospital and other hospitals but the tender finds no mention of carrying out any maintenance work on the kitchen existing in the old hospital neither is there any indication that the kitchen could be shifted in next few days to come.
Not willing to take things lying down, Mr D’Souza warned of staging a protest if authorities at the DHS did not wake up and take things seriously. “We will be compelled to take to the streets if the situation does not improve,” he warned. While the old Asilo hospital premises considered to be a heritage structure is yet to get a facelift and is in a bad condition, the functioning of the kitchen here will surely make anyone sick. [NT]