The shoddy status of the government hospitals in our country has been highlighted with a shocking incident, where a 10 day-old infant, who was undergoing treatment at the neo-natal intensive care unit (NICU) of the Government General Hospital (GGH)in Guntur (AP) was bitten to death by rats. Within a week a stray dog was found feeding on an dead infant’s body at Indore’s hospital, writes Prathiba Raju of Elets News Network (ENN)
The infant death in Guntur (Andhra Pradesh) and Indore (Madhya Pradesh) incident has highlighted pathetic conditions of underfunded public health system. The problem is compounded by the stark poverty and poor sanitary conditions.
According to a media report, the rodents bit the left eye and fingers of the 10-day-old baby boy, leaving the baby bleeding profusely with scratch marks of the rat. Parents were horrified to see the boy bleeding profusely in the early hours and rushed to the doctor on duty for help, who allegedly did not respond to the emergency resulting in the death of the baby.
“It is an unfortunate incident. We have ordered an inquiry and we will be taking strict action on the errant staff. The sanitation services of the hospital have been beefed up. A co-ordination committee including collector, municipal commissioner has been formed . The Andhra Pradesh government has sanctioned Rs four crore so that the infrastructure of the hospital be updgraded,”T Venugopala Rao, GGH superintendent, told ENN.
Meanwhile in the Indore incident, as per the eye-witnesses and report in the media stated that a stray dog was found holding an dead infant’s head in its mouth, after which they had to pelt stones at the dog to make it leave the body.
The body was later kept in the mortuary, raising questions over management in the city’s largest government health facility, Maharaja Yeshwantrao Hospital.
“The hospitals cannot be a mute spectator, when such incidents happen. The issue warrants urgent attention of the authorities at the highest levels. How come rats, cockroaches are allowed to breed on the hospital premises? This showcases the sheer carelessness. The Indian Medical Association (IMA) stand is very clear that be it private or government hospitals, the hygiene of the hospitals should be upto the mark,” Dr Krishna Kumar Agarwal, secretary general, IMA told ENN.
“It is an unfortunate incident and it showcases the condition of our government hospitals. But I should say that lot of changes will be happen in government hospitals infrastructure, as the union health ministry has come out with Kayakalp initiative. Hope things would get better,” Dr Anil Agarwal, health specialist, UNICEF told ENN.
Kayakalp by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is an initiative to encourage every public health facility in the country to work towards standards of excellence to help the facilities stay clean and hygienic. The initiative does not apply only to physical cleanliness, but to develop and put in place systems and procedures for activities such as bio-waste disposal or protocols etc.
India spends a meager one per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP) on public health, among the lowest in the world. China spends three per cent on health while the US’ health budget is 8.3 percent of the GDP.