|An overflowing drain near ESI Hospital in Saldih, Adityapur, on Thursday and puddles of waste water (top) explain the fear of malaria outbreak. Pictures by Bhola Prasad
The next time you visit the Employees State Insurance (ESI) Hospital in Seraikela-Kharsawan district’s Adityapur, keep your fingers crossed and just pray that you don’t come back with more ailments.
Diseases are knocking, quite literally, on the door of the Union ministry of labour and employment-run hospital at Saldih, around 5km from steel city Jamshedpur, with puddles of waste water and a clogged, stench-emitting drain lining the 600-metre road leading to the heal hub.
This is the same stretch that Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar had taken on Saturday to reach the hospital for inaugurating another 100-bed, Rs 99-crore block on the premises. But luckily for him, he missed the dirty spots.
The hospital’s employees and patients are not that lucky though and are living in the fear of getting afflicted by vector-borne diseases with the water puddles and the jammed drain turning into happy breeding grounds for mosquitoes. The situation has been thus since July when monsoon struck in full force. But all pleas on the civic authorities, Adityapur Municipal Council, to clean up the mess have fallen on deaf ears till now.
“We are worried about malaria outbreak and have written four times to the municipal council’s executive officer, requesting him to clean the drain lining the hospital’s boundary wall regularly. Whenever it rains, the drain spills and we have to wade through ankle-deep dirty water to enter the hospital,” said medical superintendent Neeraj Kujur.
The 50-bed hospital’s OPD treats around 800 to 900 patients on an average every day while the bed occupancy rate is 82 per cent.
Worried that the patients might fall prey to diseases like malaria, the hospital management has hired a private agency for carrying out fogging inside the premises.
“We hired a private agency, which carries out fogging besides cleaning the drains inside the hospital. However, we cannot clean the drain outside our compound as it does not come under our purview. Despite our best efforts, mosquitoes swarm the hospital and we receive regular complaints from outdoor and indoor patients,” Kujur added.
Local residents also vented their frustration.
“It is difficult to walk on the road after a heavy bout of showers. It has not rained for three days but still there are puddles and dirty water on the road. We lodged complaints with ward councillor Subhadra Mahto several times,” said Dinesh Sharma, a resident of Saldih Basti in Adityapur.
Adityapur Municipal Council executive officer Suresh Yadav’s pleaded ignorance about the problems faced by the hospital and local people.
“I have not received any complaint about a clogged drain near the hospital. However, I will send a team to clean the drain at the earliest,” he said.
Yadav, though, was quick to narrate the civic body’s own woes. “The council area spans across 40sqm and we have only 55 contractual workers at our disposal for cleaning and disposal of solid waste. We are managing with limited resources,” he rued.
ESI hospitals are meant for all working people with a monthly income of less than Rs 15,000. In Jharkhand, there are two such facilities — one in Adityapur’s Saldih and the other in Ranchi.