A philanthropist and an organisation working for paraplegics have come to the rescue of the Group of Tuberculosis (GTB) Hospital in Sewri after it ran out of diapers for bed-ridden TB patients for nearly three months because of a delay in procurement by the BMC-run hospital. On Saturday, Mumbai resident Ila Mehta bought 400 sanitary napkins and 100 adult diapers from the Paraplegic Foundation at a low cost for the TB patients in the hospital. Three days later on Tuesday, however, the diapers were yet to be distributed to the patients. The hospital’s stock ran out in November 2017. The Indian Express had reported on January 25 that some bed-ridden patients were forced to make use of cloth rags, while others soiled their clothes and the bed linen in the absence of diapers.
The hospital’s Class IV workers were forced to wipe the linen clean as changing bedsheets every day was not possible because of limited supply. Mehta said her mother was bed-ridden in the past and she understood the importance of diapers for such patients. She approached the GTB Hospital where doctors told her the hospital was in dire need of not just diapers, but also sanitary napkins.
“As a first installment, I purchased the diapers and sanitary napkins from the Paraplegic Foundation for Rs 4,000. I am hoping to look for more options to provide a steady supply to the hospital at cheap rates. I have reached out to a few organisations that make low-cost pads,” Mehta said. In the BMC, a central purchase department usually manages bulk procurement of medicines and hospital supplies if the requirement exceeds 15 lakh units annually.
Hospital medical superintendent Dr Vijay Naringrekar said that as diapers are not on the scheduled list, each hospital has to procure these locally based on their needs. Of 500-600 patients admitted in the hospital at any given time, the hospital requires diapers for at least 10 per cent patients. In a year, its requirement is around 65,700 diapers.
The female wards have over 300 patients who require sanitary napkins. Most are admitted for long-term treatment ranging from two to six months. The nurses, patients’ kin said, asked families to buy the diapers and sanitary napkins but the expense is not feasible for low-income group patients. On Tuesday, Badshah Khan’s 20-year-old daughter Taiyaba lay in Sewri hospital’s second floor ward where she has been under treatment for 11 days. “The nurse told me today itself to get diapers for her, and I bought two for Rs 50. There have been no diapers since the first day of her admission,” he said.
Khan, a watchman in Mahim, earns Rs 8,000 per month. “I had to borrow money from another patient’s relative,” he said, adding: “I have Rs 80 left in my pocket.”
Adjacent to Taiyaba lay Deepa Yelmale (30), who has been admitted to the hospital for the past three months. “There have been no diapers at least since I came. My mother buys them for me whenever she has money,” Yelmale said. She added that her husband seldom comes to meet her.
Meanwhile, the hospital’s own procurement has now been completed and supplies reached the hospital last week. However, distribution is yet to begin.