Doctors at civic hospitals themselves have been contracting tuberculosis, thanks to the overcrowded and dirty quarters they are provided in their hostels.
Resident doctors at Sion hospital allege that poor living conditions in the barracks and hostel buildings has led to 11 resident doctors contracting tuberculosis (TB). While they have been requesting the hospital dean and the BMC since 2009 to renovate their hostel rooms and provide them with additional accommodation, all their efforts have been in vain. Failing to receive any response from the BMC, the doctors are going to meet the municipal commissioner and additional municipal commissioner on Monday, with their proposals.
At present, around 510 resident doctors live in utter squalor in the barracks and hostel rooms of Sion hospital, which are in an extremely shabby condition.
While there are 100 rooms in the old RMO quarters, there are 38 rooms in the new hostel on the hospital campus, with 32 barracks attached to it. The resident doctors complain that the shortage of rooms has forced their quarters to become congested, with four to five doctors sharing a small 150 square feet room on an average. These doctors are also demanding that the additional 38 rooms lying vacant in the new OPD building be provided to them.
Last Saturday, these doctors protested for two hours, gathering with their mattresses and baggage outside the dean’s office, and complained about the rampant cases of tuberculosis among the doctors and overcrowding in the hostel rooms.
A senior member of the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) at Sion Hospital said, “We have confirmation that 11 resident doctors have contracted TB, but we believe that there could be more doctors who are unwilling to reveal that even they have been affected. Congestion in rooms and unclean environment around our accommodations adds to our health concerns.”
“Even after approaching the additional municipal commissioner and submitting several proposals, the vacant rooms in the new OPD building are lying unused, while five to six of us are forced to sleep in one room,” said another member of MARD at the hospital.
A senior doctor, on condition of anonymity, revealed that the rooms in the new OPD are lying vacant because the building hasn’t been handed over to hospital authorities owing to some issues with the building’s contractor. An official inquiry has been initiated against the contractor over some irregularities in his construction work, as a result of which the contractor refuses to hand over the new building to hospital authorities, said the doctor.
A Vikhroli based municipal school building was also identified as possible accommodation for these resident doctors. While the lower floors would accommodate school activities and students, the top two floors were to be converted into barracks for these doctors. But even the renovation of these floors is awaiting sanction from BMC authorities, alleged the senior doctor from Sion hospital.
Dr Suleiman Merchant, dean of Sion Hospital, said, “I am aware of the pitiable conditions in which these doctors live and I am doing my best to get these issues resolved. These doctors have been putting forward their grievances to the ex-dean and BMC authorities for the past two years and still no action has been taken. I have shown them the proposals that are pending at the BMC offices, following which they decided to meet the assistant municipal commissioner personally, to put forward their proposals.”
Additional Municipal Commissioner Manisha Mhaiskar said, “I am aware of the issues raised by these doctors and we are taking immediate action to resolve them.”