Last week, MiD DAY exposed the shocking living conditions of resident doctors at Sion hospital, and how such squalor and congestion had led to 11 doctors contracting tuberculosis (‘This is how Sion hospital resident doctors live,’).
In an attempt to address the issue and assuage the concerns of the resident doctors, a meeting was held at KEM hospital on Sunday. The meeting, which went on for 90 minutes, ended with all parties reaching a truce.
Dr Sandhya Kamath and Dr Suleiman Merchant, deans of KEM and Sion hospitals respectively, assistant municipal commissioner (AMC) Manisha Mhaiskar and three representatives of the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD), and members of hostel committee were present at the meeting. Issues related to the poor hostel conditions and overcrowding in the barracks were on the agenda.
Members of MARD from Sion hospital insisted that more rooms be allocated to them and the existing living spaces be cleaned. The senior officials at the meeting however, put forward their own demands in return.
They demanded that all 11 doctors who have contracted TB get themselves registered under the National Tuberculosis Control Programme (NTCP). They also promised that these 11 doctors would be provided medicines free of cost under the programme. Those who have contracted Multi-drug Resistant Tuberculosis (MDR) will also get free treatment, if they register with the NTCP.
Dr Suleiman Merchant, dean of Sion hospital, said, “An informal meeting was held on Sunday and another formal meeting has been scheduled for November 16. There was a positive response from the AMC regarding allocation of additional rooms for the resident doctors.” He added, “Resident doctors also put forward a proposal for constructing towers in the place of barracks and hostel building to accommodate more rooms, and the AMC has also sanctioned the proposal for the construction of one such tower. I have been instructed to submit a proposal for the tower in the upcoming budget.”
The members of MARD also asked why they had not been allocated the rooms in the new OPD building as well as additional rooms at Rauri Camp and a municipal school building in Vikhroli. To address the issue, another meeting was scheduled for November 16, where the builder and the contractor of the new OPD building will be present. At the meeting, they will be asked to confirm the date by which they will hand over the new OPD building to Sion hospital authorities.
A resident doctor who was present at the meeting said on condition of anonymity, “The result of the meeting was very positive for our cause. Issues related to poor living conditions were discussed and solutions for the same were announced. Regarding the new rooms, it was decided that on November 16 another meeting would be held in which a deadline would issued for the same. Even servants at the living quarters are being given new instructions to clean the surroundings and inside the hostel and barracks.”
He added, “Though no leave would be provided to resident doctors suffering from TB, they would be allotted light work.”