After city corporators criticised the health department for the ‘poor conditions’ at the civic-run Sewri tuberculosis hospital in the civic health committee meeting on Monday, the BMC has now resolved to pay regular visits to the hospital to check the food quality given to the staffers and to monitor the healthcare facilities provided to TB patients.
“We are thinking of creating an additional post for a person who will monitor the nutrition content of food provided to the doctors, nurses and class IV employees. A committee will also be set up to look into improvement of facilities for patients at the hospital,” said Dr Suhasini Nagda, director of medical education and major hospitals, BMC.
Dr Saeeda Khan, a local corporator from the NCP, told Newsline, “At present, the nutrition value of the free food given to the staffers working in the hospital looks good only on paper. Instead of 250 ml of milk, they are given 100 ml and the food is not rich in protein. There is already over 40 per cent staff vacancy at the TB hospital as not many are keen on working there fearing they might contract the disease.”
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BJP corporator Dr Ram Barot, who also discussed the issue in the meeting after a visit to the hospital, said the count of employees contracting TB is high and yet no steps have been taken to address the ssue.
Newsline had earlier reported that 46 employees in the hospital had contracted TB in March of which 23 had multi-drug resistant (MDR) TB. From 2005 till January this year, a total of 38 employees had succumbed to TB.
According to Khan, patients do not even get hospital clothes to change and the infection continues to multiply in the absence of proper care. “Surprise visits should be made to see the conditions under which the hospital is operating,” Khan said.
Admitting that the hospital is facing multiple issues, Nagda said regular checks will be done to ensure food quality.
“We are also thinking of installing a TV at the hospital so that patients can get entertainment. Most of them have been abandoned by their families and live alone in the hospital,” Nagda said.
The BMC is also in the process of appointing psychiatrists at Sewri TB hospital to counter suicidal tendencies that patients get during their treatment course.
According to experts, the second-line treatment comprising Rifampicin drug leads to nausea and anxiety in patients. Some other drugs used to treat TB also have several side effects on patients’ health and often lead to suicidal tendency.
“At present, there is just one counsellor from an NGO who visits the hospital. Appointment of psychiatrists will help in reducing suicides at the hospital,” Barot said.