Pregnant women from red zones suffer as existing MCH faces space crunch

ESS AHMAD. Dated: 5/29/2020 12:51:48 AM

ANANTNAG, May 28: In February 2017, the then PDP-BJP government took over the trust owned under construction Rahmat-e-Alam hospital along with its assets and liabilities in Anantnag town.
The purpose of taking over of the private hospital was to shift the lone maternity and child (MCH) hospital of southern region from the unsafe building with little space in congested Sherbagh locality.
Soon after taking over the private hospital, the government sanctioned Rs 12 crore for its completion. The executing agency JKPCC was asked to complete the project within one year. The agency, however, failed to meet the deadline due to the paucity of funds. Though the government later released the funds to the executing agency which speeded up the work on the project. However, since April last year when the hospital building was occupied by the Para-military CRPF men, the work on the project is at complete halt.
"More than three years have passed since the government took over this private hospital but half of the work is yet to be done on the project. Initially it was the shortage of funds that halted the work and now the occupation of the building by CRPF has halted the same," said an official in the health department.
Maternity hospital in Sherbagh locality of the town has been declared unsafe by the fire and emergency services department in its safety audit. The demand for the shifting of hospital grew louder after the doctors refused to admit the suspected Covid-19 pregnant women or those from red zones stating that they don’t have isolation ward for such patients. A woman from Kharpora Kokernag last month died with her twins in the hospital after being delayed the treatment for hours on the pretext of being from red zone. Her death created uproar on social media forcing the authorities to initiate inquiry.
"It is due to the non-availability of the space in the MCH that we had to identify a PHC in Marhama village for the pregnant women from red zones. You can imagine the agonies of the women in labour pains travelling from any far-off red zone to Marhama village of Bijbehara for treatment where from many of them, requiring surgeries, are referred to Srinagar," said a doctor.
Had the authorities not allowed the CRPF to stay in the Rahmat-e-Alam hospital, situation would not have turned so much ugly.
Executive engineer (XEn), JKPCC, Mohammad Hussain, said that they would have completed the project a year ago had not CRPF been allowed to occupy the building.
"Initially there was paucity of funds for the project but now when the funds are available with us the building remains occupied by CRPF. Many a times, I wrote to the authorities to relocate the CRPF so that the work on the project is started but nobody seems to be listening to us," the XEn said.
He said while the building remained occupied he carried on the tress work after getting permission from the district administration.
"Though we managed to complete the roof work on the hospital building while it remained occupied but we cannot do any interior work as long as CRPF is there. Once the authorities relocate the CRPF we will re-start the work," he said.



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