Poor sewerage haunts major govt hospitals

KARACHI: Poor sewerage system and bumpy roads leading to major government hospitals of Karachi, including Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center (JPMC) create serious inconvenience for thousands of visiting patients.

The major government hospitals are spreading more diseases then they cure due to their choked sewerage lines, overflowing gutters, heaps of garbage and pathetic infection control practices in wards and buildings. The main gate of the JPMC often remained inundated in gutter water, depicting an awful picture of cleanliness and infection control practices in this largest government hospital of the province.

An important and busy road in front of JPMC, where many other healthcare organizations are located, is damaged at several places due to presence of stagnant sewerage water. It badly needs road repair and replacement of broken sewerage line along it.

Three major hospitals of Sindh province on Rafiqui Shaheed Road Karachi, including Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center (JPMC), National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) and National Institute of Child Health (NICH) are in need of installation of a proper sanitary and sewerage system and improving hygienic conditions to protect the patients, staff and attendants from various hospital-related infections.

Many other important institutions like Jinnah Sindh Medical University, The Kidney Center and I&I Depot of the Sindh health department are located on this road. Sadly this important and busy road could not be repaired for last several years, while sewerage pipeline installed along it in 1948 are yet to be replaced despite the passage of 66 years.

A visit of these hospitals, especially the JPMC, tells volumes about the lack of seriousness of civic authorities towards hygienic and sanitary conditions of these tertiary medical care center that cater the needs of not only people of Karachi but also of whole Sindh province.

An official of JPMC on condition of anonymity said no civic institution like Karachi Cantonment Board, Clifton Cantonment Board, Karachi Metropolitan Corporation, Karachi Water & Sewerage Board and Sindh health department is ready to ensure proper road repair, cleanliness and drainage repair of important road which is used by 5,000 to 7,000 people who visit the JPMC and other hospitals along this road on daily basis.

He said this road could not be repaired for last several years, while choked sewerage line is still to be replaced despite several requests to civic intuitions. The sewerage water of overflowing gutters is seen accumulated at the entrances of these major hospitals, causing serious inconvenience for visiting patients, besides doctors and other staff.

The managements of these hospitals sometimes depute their own staff drained out the stagnant sewerage water but failed to find a permanent solution to this issue. The sewerage water is also a threat to vaccine and medicines worth millions stocked in I & I Depot.

The I&I Depot comprises cold storage of children vaccines, stores of TB Control Program, medicine store of City District Government Karachi and stores of World Health Organisation, Drug Control, Sindh AIDS Control and other organisations.

The hospital staff and visiting patients face great hardships and inconvenience due presence of sewerage water and poor road condition, besides poor cleanliness and infection control practices especially in the JPMC.

A staff member of NICVD said sewerage condition in the hospital has turned from bad to worse but the authorities concerned are doing anything for it. He said hospital sanitary staff drains out sewerage water on daily basis but next day they face the same situation.

Proper cleanliness and a rigid infection control regime is the hallmark of hospitals, and the litmus test of effective working of their administration; however, our government hospitals including the JPMC and Civil Hospital Karachi (CHK) spread more diseases than they cure, just due to absence of solid infection control practices and poor governance.

Meanwhile, President, Pakistan Medical Association (PMA), Karachi Prof Idress Adhi said bureaucracy do not want to do anything which can benefit general public. He said overflowing in front of any hospital is not just a great inconvenience for visiting patients but also a shame for the management of that hospital He said poor cleanliness condition of hospitals show the level of negligence and incompetency of our civic institutions that are responsible for maintaining cleanliness and sewerage systems.

He said a single statement of Chief Minister or Governor Sindh for improvement of sewerage system in the vicinity of government hospitals of Karachi can play a vital role to improve the overall situation.

Joint Executive Director, JPMC, Dr Seemin Jamali, when contacted, said several request have already been sent all relevant civic institutions for improvement of sewerage system and replacement of choked pipelines but no positive response has been received as yet.

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