MCD Election: Purnima Sethi Multi-Speciality Hospital in Sorry State, Only OPD Available
Public health, one of the most important planks of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) used extensively during Delhi Assembly elections, is surprisingly missing during the campaigning for the December 4 Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) election.
During the campaigning for the last Assembly election, the ruling AAP presented its Mohalla Clinics as an example of its success in providing healthcare. However, health is not the party’s main poll plank this time with the AAP only asking some healthcare-related questions from the incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The condition of MCD hospitals is not hidden with news of staff strikes and the collapse of parts of dilapidated buildings frequently making headlines.
The Newsclick team visited Kalkaji’s Purnima Sethi Multi-Speciality Hospital, the only MCD hospital in south Delhi, to learn more about its services and treatment.
It has been only a few years since this hospital was built but its dilapidated condition with broken windows and doors, dusty registration desks and piles of filth tell the tale of neglect. The basement is submerged and the stink of the huge garbage dump next to the first gate is unbearable.
Only OPD facility available in ‘multi-speciality’ hospital
Despite being known as a multi-speciality hospital, it only has an OPD facility from Monday to Sunday with no emergency, surgery or diagnosis facilities. Patients on dialysis allege that it is not administered properly and they have to pay for it. Besides, medicines are rarely available and are mostly purchased from outside, they further allege.
Suresh, who owns a small shop near the hospital, tells Newsclick that the hospital was inaugurated by former Union finance minister Arun Jaitley in 2015. “We were told that it would be a 100-bed hospital where facilities for dengue, malaria, blood and urine tests would be available and would benefit more than 10 lakh people. However, none of the facilities are available. Even partial services were available after more than a year,” he says.
Hospital ‘dependent on God’
Some of the employees requesting anonymity say that the hospital is “dependent on God” adding that “no treatment is available except for fever and cough”, and the number of doctors varies from 2-4 to 8-10.
One of the OPD patients who has had fever for the last week says he didn’t get an appointment despite visiting the hospital multiple times. The OPD starts around 9 am-10 am and closes around 1 pm, he adds. “Only patients whose numbers are called out by the staff are treated. Common people aren’t treated despite queuing up for hours.”
Common people deprived of health services amid blame game
Recently, AAP MLA Atishi said that the hospital’s construction symbolised the BJP’s “corruption” and “misgovernance” in the last 15 years. “The hospital was to be built in 2005 for Rs 6.70 crore. But the BJP has not been able to complete the construction despite spending Rs 35 crore,” she alleged. “The BJP has done only two things in 15 years—
corruption and misgovernance.”
In response, the MCD alleged that the AAP government did not release funds on time, which stalled the construction.
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