Come New Year, the iconic century-old heritage building at Osmania General Hospital (OGH) will no longer have under its roof anxious patients and their attendants worried about health as well as their lives. The good news, however, is that its renovation and restoration is expected to begin soon.
The famous in-patient (IP) block, which has undergone years of neglect leading to patches of plaster falling off, is currently at the last stage of evacuation. The hospital authorities have set themselves a deadline to vacate the hospital before the end of January 2020.
OGH being one of the biggest government hospitals, scores of patients are referred here every day from all across the state. At one point in time, it used to be the biggest in Asia and the second biggest in the world, doctors here point out.
While the entire second floor was vacated in 2015, after it was declared an unsafe zone, leaving only two operation theatres functional here, the first floor is partially evacuated. Already, 200 patients have been moved out over the last several years and another 250 patients will be shifted out this January.
According to hospital authorities, as many as 65 patients have been shifted to the ground floor of old house surgeon quarters, where the first floor is being developed to accommodate another 70 beds. Fifty patients have been shifted to old OT-7 complex. 100 beds are put up at ground plus two floors in the Quli Qutb Shab department of Cardiology (QQDC) building. A prefabricated shed is being developed at the building to accommodate another 220 beds.
“The government is serious about the renovation. A government order, dated 5-7-2019, sanctioned Rs 19.2 crore for renovation. The team of Aga Khan Trust for Culture and department of Archeology has visited us recently. If renovation works start soon, the building should be ready in one or two years,” B Nagender, the hospital superintendent told indianexpress.com. However, he felt that the building was structurally still strong though patients often raised an alarm at the crumbling infrastructure.
On November 20, a delegation from Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) along with the state department of archaeology officials visited the hospital and inspected the building. A Dinakar Babu, in-charge director of Heritage Telangana said the renovation and restoration works would begin shortly. “The health department through the state government had approached the AKTC. AKTC is awaiting permission from its head office. We have requested the state government to let us oversee the restoration project. It is just a matter of time,” he told indianexpress.com.
New building still required
Amid the talks of renovation and restoration of the old building, there is a rising demand for the expedition of construction of a new block to accommodate the rising number of patients. The government had initially identified a 7-acre vacant land for construction of a five-storeyed building.
The demand to expedite the works was once against raised by doctors when a delegation of Telangana State Human Rights Commission led by Justice (retd) G Chandraiah visited the hospital on Saturday.
“The present load of patients has exuberantly increased. The number of units, doctors, PGs and house surgeons have all increased. To meet the rising demands, we have an urgent need for a new building,” Dr Pandu Naik, Department of Anesthesia, who heads the Osmania JAC for a new building, told indianexpress.com.
According to Prof. Manisha Sahay, HOD, Department of Nephrology, all top doctors in Hyderabad are trained at the OGH and now that the intake of medical students has increased manifold, it is important to have improved infrastructure and medical facilities.
The palatial building was conceived by the last Nizam of Hyderabad, Mir Osman Ali Khan Bahadur. The Indo-Saracenic style building was constructed in 1919 for Rs 20 lakh at the time, with the blueprints drawn by renowned architect Vincent Jerome Esch.
Over the decades, owing to sheer neglect in upkeep and repair, cracks were seen on the walls and patches of plaster started falling, endangering lives of patients, attendants, staff, and doctors.
Apart from the heritage block, the OGH has five other buildings spread over a 25-acre sprawling campus. Of these, one building is being used for nursing, and one for patient care.
Currently, there are 1,385 beds, around 200 doctors-cum-faculty members, 400 post-graduates, 400 house surgeons, and 192 nurses. Around 2,200-2,500 patients are treated here every day, apart from 150 admissions.
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