Irfan Tramboo

Callous: SKIMS maternity care hospital proves a non-performer

Callous: SKIMS maternity care hospital proves a non-performer
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Srinagar: The SKIMS maternity care hospital is functioning in shambles, with its up gradation being stalled since 2008, the hospital lacks almost all the basic equipments that are necessary for the functioning of a sensitive maternity care facility.

What is more appalling is that the USG machine at the hospital is lying defunct for a month, adding to the miseries of the patients who throng the hospital from far off places of the valley.

The officials, however, candidly admit the fault by saying that they have initiated the tendering process for the procurement of the machine, which is going to take some time and are also looking for ‘donors.’

“We have initiated the short-term tendering process for the procurement of the USG machine, which is going to take less time than the normal process,  plus we are looking for some other option like that of donation,” said Medical Superintendent, SKIMS Dr Farooq Jan.

“We have identified some donors and have approached them, we are waiting for their response,” he added.

The non availability of USG is not the only problem at the maternity care hospital being run by Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS)—the premier healthcare institute of the valley, the hospital is running short of basic machinery which is otherwise available at the peripheral hospitals.

The insiders are revealing that the hospital is lacking the basic machines like: Cardiotocography (CTG) and Hysteroscopy, both the machines are imperative to handle the maternity cases at any hospital—with or without complications.

What is ironic is that all these machines that are missing at the city’s major hospital are available at most of the peripheral hospital in the valley. Under this scenario, lack of such machinery is posing serious questions over the management of the hospital and the risk to which the patient is being exposed.

“All such machinery is imperative for its functioning, and are available at most of the hospitals in districts, and what the SKIMS Maternity Care Hospital is doing is far less than the peripheral health institutes,” insiders said.

The hospital is said to be doing good in terms of the manpower and has got a staff strength of 14 Senior Residents, 6 Consultants and around 10 Post Graduates, however, the output is 120 deliveries per day, “the majority of which are normal or Caesarean, and in case of any complication, the patient is quickly referred to Lal Ded, because the hospital is not equipped with the machinery to tackle with the complications,” insiders inform.

SKIMS being a multi-speciality hospital, the patients with multiple ailments are advised to carry out the delivery at its maternity care hospital, so as to be treated at one spot for different ailments, “if such a patient develops maternity complications, they have to run back and forth from SKIMS to Lal Ded,” a doctor said, “the hospital, in the sense, is making no difference.”

The ill functioning of the hospital unveils the reason behind mass referrals from SKIMS hospital to Lal Ded, which is already catering to a larger population and is performing beyond its capacity, “the SKIMS maternity care, being an offshoot of a premier institute, should actually lessen the burden on LD, but the opposite of this is happening here,” a doctor said.

Apart from machinery, the hospital is currently having a total strength of around 50 beds. It’s up gradation to 140 bedded hospital was announced in 2008 and was meant to increase the capacity of existing maternity unit and give women access to specialized treatment, but it’s failure has left thousands of women in despair.

The SKIMS administration is, however, saying that there were some difficulties during the execution of the project and the same has been conveyed to the government.

“There were some difficulties in its execution and that is the the main reason that the building was not made functional on time, like the cost of the building had shoot up and the same was conveyed to the govt,” said Director SKIMS Dr Omar Javaid Shah.

Dr Shah said that he was hopeful that the building will be made functional by 2019 and the up gradation will also take place, “I know there has been a delay, but I assure you that 2019 will see its completion,” he added.

When asked about the absence of basic machinery at the maternity hospital, Dr Shah said that the process is underway, “it shall be done soon,” he said.

Irfan Tramboo

Irfan Tramboo is a reporter and covers education and health and can be contacted [email protected]

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