Severe shortage of beds at city-based government hospitals has become a major problem for patients. So much so that if you visit the general wards of gynaecology departments of government hospitals,you would find two mothers lying diagonally on a single bed with their newly born babies adjusted at one corner.
PGIs obstetrics and gynaecology department has 150 beds and daily around 450 people visit the department. Looking at the number of patients,the department needs another 500 beds. Institutional delivery is 100%,but definitely we need more beds and manpower, says Dr Lakhbir K Dhaliwal,professor and head of obstetrics and gynaecology department,PGI.
She adds,The labour room which was launched in 1975 was for 1,000 deliveries,but currently the number of deliveries per year has increased to 5,000. Further,the gynaecology ward which was opened in 1980 was for 15,000 people,today it is treating above 36,000 people.
As per doctors,the number of deliveries at government hospitals has dramatically increased after the launch of Janani-Shishu Suraksha Karyakaram by the Central government.
The scheme was launched to reduce the maternal and infant mortality in India. It provides free services to pregnant women like normal delivery,caesarian operation and free treatment to sick newborn for one month after delivery at all government hospitals,community heath centres and primary health centres.
While the government is launching new schemes in public interest,it should also strengthen the government hospitals by providing more infrastructure and manpower, Dr Dhaliwal says.
The gynaecology wards of Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH-32) and Government Multi-Speciality Hospital (GMSH-16) are also facing the same problem of excessive pressure and less infrastructure.
Dr Anju Huria,head of gynaecology department,GMCH-32,says,The government has announced the scheme to promote safe motherhood,but has done nothing to improve the infrastructure at hospitals. There is a shortage of beds and staff. We need more doctors,sweepers,nurses and other staff members.
She adds,At present,there are only 78 beds,but the department needs hundreds of more beds. The occupancy at the gynaecology department is 220%. Ideally,it should be 90%.
Dr Atul Sachdev,GMCH-32 director,says,The department is facing the pressure. As a temporary solution,we are going to arrange additional 12-13 beds at the gynaecology department. However,we are planning to arrange one separate building for this department which will take more than a year.
At the gynaecology department of GMSH-16,daily about 70-80 deliveries are conducted,and two-three mothers are forced to share a single bed.
Doctors admit that the overcrowded environment is not hygienic for infants,as there are more chances of them getting infection.