February 10, 2021 6:37:17 am
The Bhandara district general hospital has received Rs 1.53 crore from the Maharashtra government to rebuild the sick newborn care unit (SNCU) that was partially gutted on January 9 in a fire. The hospital is waiting for police nod to start work on the ward which has been sealed.
In addition, the district general hospital has sent an updated proposal of Rs 1.90 crore to the state government to install a new firefighting system in the entire 482-bed hospital. “We received an estimate from the Public Works Department and have forwarded it to the government to reconsider,” a district official said.
Ten babies had died of burns and suffocation in the SNCU’s ‘outborn section’ after fire started in one of the radiant warmer’s control panel in the wee hours of January 9. The SNCU had no firefighting system. The Maharashtra government took action against seven district officials by suspending three including the civil surgeon, transferring the additional civil surgeon and terminating the contract of three doctors and nurses. An inquiry report stated that the doctors and nurses were negligent in their duties and recommended to install a firefighting system and system to maintain equipment in hospital.
Currently the hospital is running a makeshift SNCU department in the district hospital by borrowing five radiant baby warmers and five phototherapy units from Yavatmal Government Medical College. “Once Bhandara police allow us to renovate the SNCU, work will begin. We have already received funds from the state and district office,” an official said.
The new SNCU has been allocated Rs 96 lakh by the state government for medical equipment and instruments, while the district has disbursed Rs 13 lakh for furniture and construction and Rs 44 lakh for electrical fitting and fire system. The partially destroyed SNCU was five years old.
The proposal to fit a new firefighting system in the entire hospital is currently with the public health department. Officials said they will study the proposal. The proposal was first sent in May 2020 following which the state had returned it to the district with technical queries. Since November 2020 the proposal has been with the PWD. It has now revalued the firefighting system from Rs 1.50 crore to Rs 1.90 crore.
The Bhandara district general hospital started functioning in 1981 without a no objection certificate (NOC) from the fire department. In 2015 the hospital constructed an extension to open SNCU, a medical store and a Nutrition Rehabilitation Centre (NRC), and again did not procure NOC from the fire department. Following the fire incident, the inquiry committee recommended to allocate responsibility for obtaining such permissions before operating a new hospital building. The inquiry committee also recommended the need to appoint trained electrical and biomedical engineers to handle equipment and electric appliances in the hospital.
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