The lessons from October 17 SUM Hospital fire in Bhubaneswar which claimed 25 lives are yet to be learnt, as government hospitals in tribal-dominated Koraput district still lack proper fire safety measures. The 180-bed district headquarters hospital in Koraput and the 110-bed subdivisional hospital in Jeypore, which are the two major hospitals of the district, do not have adequate fire safety measures in place.
Sources said that apart from indoor patients, hundreds of outdoor patients turn up at these hospitals every day and if any fire mishap takes place, many lives would be lost. “Koraput being a referral hospital for patients of Nabarangpur and Malkangiri districts, hundreds of patients come here on any given day. Patients’ attendants cook food on the hospitals’ premises and anything can happen,” said Ajit Patra, an activist.
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So required precautionary measures should be taken at the earliest, he said. Community Health Centres (CHC) in 14 blocks of the district paint a similar picture. Chief District Medical Officer (Koraput) Laxmi Dhar Kabi said a few fire extinguishers have been kept at Koraput and Jeypore hospitals.
The CDMO also admitted that no mock drill has been carried out so far to prepare the hospital staff to tackle such situation. Deputy Fire Officer (Koraput) Mohammad Ishak said that not a single hospital in the district has been provided with fire safety certificate. The fire services wing is taking steps to conduct inspection at the hospitals in the district, he said.
The authorities are advised to keep sufficient fire safety equipment and conduct mock drills at regular intervals, he said. According to the officer, only one private hospital at Jeypore town has so far applied for fire safety certificate.