Civic maternity hospitals lack sonography facilities

Published: Dec 19, 2012, 07:31 IST | Anup Satphale and Namrata Devikar |

Majority of 14 PMC-run hospitals don't have sonography machines, refer patients to pvt centres

The poor health care delivery mechanism by civic hospitals in the city was laid bare after MiD DAY surveyed 14 hospitals run by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC). It was found that most of these hospitals did not have sonography machines to conduct ultrasonic examinations of pregnant women. Furthermore, patients coming for these tests are referred to other private laboratories.

These hospitals are run by the PMC as full-fledged medical facilities and are supposed to be equipped with a vast array of medical equipments and technicians. But, most of the maternity wards at the 14 hospitals did not have sonography facilities available.

Questionable practice: The Chandumama Sonawane Prasutigruha, Bhawani Peth, where a receipt (below) for a sonography test was given on the letterhead of a private diagnostic centre. Pics/Prathmesh Patil

A couple of hospitals where the machine was available, patients could not use of them either because they were defunct or they did not have any technician to operate them. All the remaining hospitals directed patients to private sonography centres.

Moreover, the private centres referred by the civic hospitals supposedly charge patients according to government guidelines. But, there was a discrepancy in the costs. For instance, the private sonography centre referred by PMC’s maternity centres doctors’ was understood to be Rs. 400.  But, when the same private laboratory was telephoned to enquire about the charges, the cost for the test was given as Rs 200.

Out of order
The machine at Dr Dalvi hospital has been out of order since a long time. When a nurse was asked as to when it will be repaired, she said “soon.”

The machine at Chandumama Sonawane Prasutigruha in Bhawani Peth was used only on two days. When patients were asked if they had got their sonography at the hospital, all of them responded in the negative. There is similar inconsistency at all the hospitals run by the PMC. All of these hospitals require the patient to have conducted the first sonography before they are registered at PMC’s facility. An employee at Chandumama Sonawane hospital, “The patients need to have a report from a private sonography facility with them before approaching our facility.”

When this reporter tried to get the bottom of this by registering a name at the Chandumama Sonawane Prasutigruha, the reporter was given a receipt for a sonography test, which had a letterhead and logo of a private diagnostic centre. The question here is as to why a government facility is providing a receipt with the logo of a private entity.

Laboratory woes
Many of the municipality hospitals also lack basic facilities for laboratory tests. No hospital offered in-house lab testing, except Dr Dalvi hospital at Shivajinagar, which is run by a private management. Blood, urine and other samples are sent to Gadikhana for tests to be carried out.

The facility at Gadikhana is overworked with so many testing requirements, and thus reports are delayed. This makes it difficult for the doctors to make a quick diagnosis. One of the staff members’ of the Sakharam Kundalik Kondre Prasuti Gruha at Mundhwa, said, “It takes eight days for the reports of a simple urine test to reach our hospital.”

This raises concern as to what purpose is fulfilled from these hospitals, as they cannot provide any sophisticated diagnostic or treatment service. The lack of these services mars the detection of complexities in the condition of pregnant woman, and causes a lag in timely treatment.

The patients have to run between the testing facilities and treatment facilities and thus undergo stress. The delay in reports prevents immediate diagnosis and thus causes severe delay in the treatment procedures. This lag in diagnosis might prove fatal to a patient who requires immediate attention.

The cesarean section delivery, commonly known as caesarean surgery, is very important in cases where complicationsarise. Most of the municipal hospitals under PMC, except for four, did not have the caesarean facility available. The significance of this fact is underlined by the information given by a PMC official.

“Half of the pregnant women who are registered with us through municipal hospitals, prefer to undergo delivery at private hospitals because municipal hospitals do not have caesarean facility available,” a said a PMC official, on condition of anonymity.  

The other side
PMC deputy health officer Anjali Sabne said “If a receipt of a private diagnostic centre is being given, then I have to check it with the concerned maternity homes. There are four maternity homes where the laboratory is available for basic pregnancy tests. The Gadikhana lab provides reports in one or two days.” 

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