Friday, December 5, 2008

Hygiene Absent: Sewerage water, garbage heaps greet visitors at Civil Hospital

Most of Dow Medical College (DMC) including the mortuary, attendants' waiting area, the hospital's entrance and the central mosque inside the Civil Hospital Karachi has been inundated with sewerage water on Thursday morning. Patients, attendants, doctors and college students were forced to walk through ankle deep sewerage water.

The hospital's premises were inundated after the town administration controlled sewerage lines on Maulvi Abdul Haq Road choked. The patients and hospital staffers said that inundation was now a routine in DMC, which is the biggest public sector hospital of the province. The sources said that the hospital's 40-year old sewerage system is outdated and most of the washrooms are out of order with most of the pipelines leaking sewerage water all the time. "The sewerage water seepage has also affected the buildings and this problem has never been reported in the past," sources said.

The hospital staffers said that the flooding of the mortuary and attendants' waiting area is common in the hospital. "Not this area alone, but also gate No 2 that connects emergency department with Chand Bibi Road is usually flooded with sewerage water," said a staffer on the condition of anonymity.Civil Hospital is the largest public sector hospital of Sindh with 1,780 beds and 42 different departments. The hospital's data reveals that approximately 4,000 to 5,000 patients from all over the province visit the Out Patients Department (OPD) daily, but despite that, cleanliness of the hospital is a challenge for the hospital administration. Most of the wards and corridors do not have a proper lighting system and all the walls are red with pan-spit. Huge piles of garbage are lying everywhere in the hospital and now the sewerage water flood has created more problems for the hundreds of patients and their relatives. Mostly poor patients visit this hospital and on Thursday during the visit to the hospital, the correspondent found minor children walking in cold sewerage water, bare-footed.

The stagnant sewerage water has become a breeding ground for mosquitoes and the open gutters have invited rats and mice inside the hospital. "Often big rats bite minor children in the waiting area and even inside the wards," said a female patient. "It is not our fault that the gutters outside the hospital are choked. We have informed the town administration about the problem many times, but they have not addressed the issue yet," said a peon of the hospital. On contact, Civil Hospital, Karachi Medical Superintendent Dr Saeed Qureshi said that he has personally contacted the town administration but they have fixed the sewerage system. He confirmed that there are rats and mice inside the hospital. "The rat problem is not in hospital alone but in fact the entire city is infested with rats and mice. We do not get funds to deal with the rat problem so I spent money from my own pocket to kill the rodents, as they have destroyed a portion of false ceiling in my ward but the efforts were in vain," said Qureshi.

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