Maladies afflicting Shillong Civil Hospital

By Daiaphira Kharsati

A patient undergoing treatment at the Shillong Civil Hospital corridor. (ST)

SHILLONG: Various ills plague the Civil Hospital Shillong which caters to the majority of patients from Khasi-Jaintia Hills.
Overcrowding, water scarcity, lack of proper sanitation, and the allegations of non-availability of medicines are some of the problems which confront the hospital authorities time and again.
The accommodation of patients at Civil Hospital, Shillong is a cause of concern for the hospital authorities as due to accommodation problem, the patients are made to sleep on beds placed on the side of ramps.
There are many patients who come from rural areas of the state who are accommodated in the corridors in civil hospital due to shortage of beds.
Plight of cancer patients
Speaking to The Shillong Times, an official source said that the persons who sleep on the side of the ramps are mostly cancer patients as most of them are in need of immediate medical attention and the hospital cannot deny admission to these patients.
“The ramp facility is only for cancer patients. With the increasing number of patients from rural and urban areas we have no choice but to accommodate them,” the source said.
In order to tackle the ever increasing number of cancer patients by accommodating them for their treatment, it is learnt that the hospital has approached the state government for help by requesting the government to establish an indoor ward of the cancer wing, to facilitate the admission of patients treated at the hospital.
When contacted, AL Hek, Minister of Health and Family Welfare, said, “There are rising cases of cancer patients reported at Civil Hospital.”
Hek said that there more than 600 beds in Civil Hospital, even as he admitted that accommodation is a problem due to numerous patients with various illnesses admitted in the hospital.
Asked whether the over-crowding is a seasonal matter, he replied in the positive.
Water scarcity
Reacting to the allegations that some patients and attendees purchase water from outside, hospital sources said that it is up to wishes of the people.
“The patients are also careless as they leave the tap water running which results in wastage of water,” the hospital sources added.
While some patients did not air any complaints, others stated that they purchased the water from outside the hospital or bring from their homes. On enquiring as to the reason why they do so; some gave a vague reply as it is their personal wish while others said that it is due to the scarcity of water in civil hospital.
There are varying claims as to the condition of the water, since some said it is clean and find no problem, but the fact is that attendees of the patients living nearby usually go home and bathe.
Many claimed that the water provided at the hospital is unclear and not pure.
A villager who came all the way from West Jaintia Hills for treatment in Shillong said that he purchased  water from outside but  when asked the reason, he smiled and said, “We wanted to do so .”
Another attendee said water is brought from their homes and added that water is available in the hospital only in the morning.
Shortage of water also leads to the problem of sanitation.
After this reporter visited the male medical ward, foul smell emanated from the sanitary toilet; and surprisingly a bed with no patient was placed just a few meters away from it, adding to that there are nearby rooms where attendees of the patients face unhygienic condition which in the short or long run add to the sickness of the patients.
24×7 drugs store a distant dream
On the issue of availability of medicines, there are varied views. An attendee said, “It is up to people to air their views on the matter, but as for me, medicines are sufficient. Though I have to purchase some medicines from outside.”
However another lamented and said that most of the medicines are bought from outside while the same complaint can be heard from some others too.
It may be noted that back in the year 2015, Hek had spoken of planning to set up a 24×7 drugs store which till date seems to a fairytale promise with perhaps no happy ending.
The promise was renewed by Hek and state health officials recently as they said that they will work out the modalities in this regard, but in vain.
A member of the Opposition last year had highlighted the lack of facilities in the Shillong Civil Hospital including the absence of a blood bank and modern laboratory, among others.
On the other hand, the parking lot of the Hospital was noticed to have been water logged after heavy rains on Thursday morning which will become the breeding ground of diseases if proper hygienic standards are not maintained.