|A security guard takes a nap in a ward of Phulwarisharif primary health centre in Patna on Saturday
Bio-medical waste dumped outside, security guards asleep during day, basic medicines in short supply, a child urinating outside the washroom and patients being asked money for free diagnostic services. That’s Phulwarisharif’s primary health centre for you.
But where else do patients go? The PHC is one of just two in Patna district and, ironically, received International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) certification on June 20. A visit to the Phulwarisharif PHC by The Telegraph on Saturday revealed enough irregularities to show that the authorities are not taking the ISO certification seriously.
ISO certification is given to a hospital for providing quality service but it is not forever. Audit is conducted every three years to ensure the quality of services is maintained.
When The Telegraph reached the Phulwarisharif PHC around 10am, two doctors who ought to have been present in the outpatient department by 8am were absent. Of the seven doctors assigned duty, only five were present.
Asked the reason for the two doctors’ absence, an employee tried to defend them but ended up disclosing that PHC doctors are always late. “This PHC is better than others. The two doctors must have got engaged in some work, otherwise all doctors reach here by 9.45 or 10am,” the employee said.
The Telegraph also found bio-medical waste — used syringes, cotton — dumped right in front of the hospital. These should ideally be disposed of safely as they could be serious health hazards. A child was found urinating outside a washroom on the first floor. The only consolation was that the four washrooms were clean. A security guard was found sleeping in the lone PHC ward where there were no patients.
Outpatient department patients said prescribed medicines were not available at the PHC’s medical store. Some even alleged they were asked money for free diagnostic services. “I was asked Rs 40 for routine urine test. And I came here thinking I would not have to pay at a government hospital,” said Ruksana Parveen.
A diagnostic centre staff denied the charge and insisted that blood, urine, TC/DC, cholesterol, blood sugar and stool tests are conducted for free.
“I was prescribed five medicines, I got only three. I didn’t get any antibiotic, I will have to buy it from outside, it is costly,” said Kamlavati Devi.
A medical store staff admitted there was a shortage of paracetamol, iron tablets and painkillers like diclofenac at the store. S N Singh, technical supervisor at Sudha Dairy, said, “I came here to get my blood pressure checked but the machine is defunct.”
Told about the sorry state of affairs at the Phulwarisharif PHC, Namita Kumari, programme officer at the district civil surgeon’s office, said she would sound the civil surgeon and they could inspect the same. Kumari looks after ISO certification.
Asked if Phulwarisharif PHC stands to lose the ISO certification, Kumari said: “An audit is conducted every three years. If any irregularity is found, the authority is empowered to cancel it.”