AIIMS-Patna removed its chief cook on Thursday after The Telegraph highlighted the unhygienic condition in which food was being made in the health cradle’s canteen.
Sources said the administration held a meeting on Wednesday, waking up to the gravity of the situation. It removed the chief cook, along with some of his helpers, from the job after that.
On Wednesday, sources had said 10 students of the medical college had come down with food poisoning after consuming meals served at the canteen. The administration conceded that five to six patients were suffering from food poisoning for the past few days.
The Telegraph in its report, “Students ill, blame on AIIMS food”, published on September 12, 2013, highlighted that the chief cook did not maintain hygiene while preparing the food. Sources said he did not wash his hands before making the meals and also had fungal infection in his hands.
Matters came to a head when a first-year undergraduate nursing student, Manviya, was rushed to a hospital in Phulwarisharif on Tuesday after she came down with symptoms of food poisoning.
A source at AIIMS-Patna said: “The decision to remove the chief cook was taken only after the hospital administration realised that the matter was taking a serious turn. You (The Telegraph) enquired about the matter and some students also expressed their unwillingness to eat the food prepared by the chief cook. So, this decision was finally taken.”
He added: “The main cook was checked by a dermatologist a few days back. The doctor had prescribed him medicines for the fungal infection in his hands. So, it was clear that the cook had health problems, which could have triggered the food poisoning.”
The problem of students falling ill because of the food served at the canteen had surfaced over the past week. But the issue was kept under wraps, as the administration did not want it to give a bad name to the institution.
On Thursday too, administrative officials of AIIMS-Patna were not ready to disclose anything. Asked if the main cook was removed from the job, the administrative officer of AIIMS-Patna, Rajiv Narayan, said: “I don’t know anything about it.”
After much prodding, he said: “I am very busy right now. If you want some information, you need to talk to the director (G.K. Singh). Only he can tell you about it.”
Singh could not be contacted though, as he was out of town.
The students and doctors of AIIMS-Patna are, however, happy with the administration’s action.
A first-year nursing student, who did not want to be named, said: “I am happy that the administration finally woke up to our plight and removed the cook. Had we continued eating the food made by him, we would have fallen ill.”
A doctor also said: “It had became a point of discussion as to why the hospital administration was not replacing the chief cook or giving him some other job. I am happy that the administration has finally removed him.”
Is the food at your institution’s canteen prepared in hygienic condition? Tell firstname.lastname@example.org