| The under-construction building of the IGIC paediatric unit. Picture by Ranjeet Kumar Dey |
The future of paediatric unit at Indira Gandhi Institute of Cardiology is in the dark with the health hub authorities accusing the state government of not completing the construction of the new building from where it is supposed to start functioning.
The government had provided the funds in 2011 to construct a 10-storeyed building on the campus of the Indira Gandhi Institute of Cardiology (IGIC). The construction started in the same year.
Sources said the unit, which was supposed to start in January this year, could only be started after the construction of the new building is completed in another one year. This is the second deadline that the institute has missed in starting the unit.
The hospital administration admitted to The Telegraph that the construction work for the building is going on at a slow pace.
IGIC director Harendra Kumar said: “We have missed the deadline but we are not responsible for it. According to the plan, the paediatric unit was supposed to start from the new building. How can we start the unit if the construction of the building is not ready yet?”
According to the sources, the 50-bed paediatric unit is to be constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 15 crore. Apart from an outpatient department, the unit would also have state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment like heart-lung machine, valve retractor and other surgical facilities.
The 10-storeyed building of the IGIC is being constructed under the supervision of the building construction department. Asked why there was a delay in its construction, Rajendra Kumar Choudhary, engineer-in-chief, building construction department, said: “The Andhra Pradesh-based agency that has been assigned the job is responsible for the delay. They are carrying out the work at a slow pace.”
He added that only eight floors of the building are complete. The construction of the remaining floor would take a few more months.
Once the paediatric unit becomes operational, surgeries like open-heart, aortic valve, ventricular septal defect, surgery to repair coarctation of the aorta, mitral valve surgery would be performed at the centre.
Harendra admitted that paediatric surgeries are rarely done at IGIC.
“We have to refer cases to All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi, and other hospitals because of lack of paediatric experts at our centre. However, we are not the only state to do so. Other states, too, lack of paediatric experts and refer cases to big hospitals,” he said.
Another source from the IGIC said the unit could not be started even after the completion of the new building after one year, as the process of hiring paediatric experts has not been started. No step has been taken in this regard yet.