THE 24-BED Aarey hospital, serving mostly tribals in Goregaon, is struggling to operate due to a fund crunch, forcing it to shut admissions and only provide out patient services.
In a day, the hospital now manages to cater to 50 to 60 patients for basic ailments, though it is the only health facility for 27 tribal padas in Aarey Colony. Aarey Milk Colony Child Executive Officer (CEO) N V Rathod said a request to the state government to take over the dilapidated hospital is yet to receive a response.
The hospital currently has two doctors — who local residents claimed visit only during the morning — a pharmacist, two nurses, a sister in-charge and two ward boys.
When The Indian Express visited the hospital on Monday, only one doctor, a nurse in the out patient department (OPD) and a cleaner were available. Mukesh Vikaholiya, who had been waiting for an hour for the doctor to arrive, said, “Doctors do not come and leave on time. Sometime, they leave by noon, though they are supposed to be here till 4 pm.”
Dr Ravindra Patil, posted at the hospital, said the hospital was constructed to serve dairy workers at Aarey and original inhabitants in tribal padas. Slowly it started receiving even non-tribals living in the area. “But we don’t refuse any patients. Renovation has been pending for long. We have shut some rooms due to the dilapidated condition,” he added.
The hospital currently only treats patients with basic ailments. Accident cases are referred to the Jogeshwari Trauma hospital. Until a few years ago, the hospital used to conduct deliveries, but now, even uncomplicated pregnancy cases are referred to other hospitals.
Currently, the BMC provides a weekly antenatal care camp in the hospital, but a pregnant woman has to travel outside Aarey Colony for any further scan. “A retired J J hospital dermatologist used to visit the hospital till a few years ago, but now he has also stopped coming,” a doctor said.
Last year, the civic body had refused to take over the land to run the hospital. A few years ago, the Maharashtra State Human Rights Commission had taken suo moto cognisance of the state of the hospital and instructed the government to renovate the building.
N V Rathod, the CEO of Aarey, said that with lack of funds, BMC has been unable to renovate the hospital. “After BMC refused to take over the land, we requested the state dairy department to write to the public health department to take over the hospital. Currently, the Aarey Milk Colony is paying for the medicines and the salary of employees.”
Anup Kumar Yadav, the director of National Health Mission, Maharashtra, said: “The hospital falls under BMC’s jurisdiction. We will request the municipal corporation to take over the hospital and run it.”
BMC’s newly-appointed Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani was not available for comments.