The sanitation workers of the tuberculosis centre at the Government Medical College and Hospital in Nagpur have no option but to live in unsanitary conditions themselves.
The Government Medical College and Hospital is one of the biggest public health facilities in Nagpur, India’s 13th most populous city. The hospital is also home to a centre specialising in the control and treatment of tuberculosis, a highly contagious disease. But for those residing on the hospital premises and in the adjacent staff quarters, the living conditions are nothing short of a death spell, owing to the lack of sanitation.
“It looks like this place is inhabited by animals, not human beings,” says a resident of the staff quarters, pointing to the filth spread by pigs.
The quarters are home to 120 workers who are responsible for sanitation work at the hospital, especially at the tuberculosis centre. But in their own quarters, the are given no sanitation facilities.
Community Correspondent Alka Mate, on a visit to the quarters and the hospital, found the toilets in the quarters in a filthy state and without running water. She also found that out of the 120 households, only seven have independent toilets; the others have to use the communal toilets. “The condition of the communal toilets is so bad that one can’t even stand there because of the stench,’ she says.
“The hospital and the staff quarters only exist on paper, there are no facilities for us,” says another distressed resident whose relative contracted typhoid because of the unsanitary living conditions.
According to a report, 25 resident doctors at the hospital also contracted dengue this year because of the unhygienic hospital environment. The management allegedly did not take any preventive measures.
The residents of the staff quarters have also approached the management but to no avail, so far. “They cite a shortage of staff as the reason, but it is their responsibility to give us sanitation facilities here,” says Jitu Mahesware, another resident. The management deducts a maintenance fee from the staff’s salaries, yet does not ensure sanitation facilities for their quarters.
Nagpur happens to be Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’s home, he also represents the Nagpur South West constituency in the state legislature. Seeing the state of the hospital, Alka feels that Fadnavis has failed to implement the government’s flagship sanitation mission, the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, in his own district.
In July this year, the district Public Works Department began the construction of a fourth government hospital in the city, at a cost of 28.48 crore rupees. The project is being touted as a much-needed superspeciality facility in the district, but will multi-crore projects like these live up to expectations when even basic hygiene levels are not met in most public health facilities?
Help the community living in the staff quarters by urging the authorities in-charge to take action immediately. Call Abhimanyu Niswade, the Dean of Government Medical College and Hospital, at +91-7122701642 and apprise him of the problem.
Video by Community Correspondent Alka Mate
Article by Alankrita Anand, a member of the VV Editorial Team