The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the stressed and almost non-functional healthcare system in rural Bihar with unsanitary conditions, lack of medical equipment and missing medical staff becoming the norm at many hospitals.
The government health centre in Sukki village in Madhubani’s Khajauli has become a shelter for stray animals. The ruined structure accommodating cattle used to be the second-largest hospital in Bihar’s Madhubani.
However, it is now lying dysfunctional in the midst of the pandemic. There are many things lying all around that give a reminder that the ruined building once housed a hospital.
“This building is functioning as a hospital just in government documents. The hospital hasn’t been functioning for the last 25 years. Even, doctors, nurses, and other staff have only been appointed on papers. They never visit the hospital. They just hoist the national flag at the premises every year on August 15 and January 26,” a local resident MD Kayun told ANI. He said that local residents have complained about the non-functional hospital many times but to no avail.
Another local resident Ram Bahadur Yadav said, “The doctors even get their salary, but they never visit the hospital. No officials can be seen here.” Even the Sadar Hospital at Madhubani depicts an unsanitary condition with waterlogging and garbage strewn on the premises. Corroded and unused ambulances can be seen parked outside the hospital.
A attended of a patient admitted at the Sadar Hospital said, “Hygiene is not maintained here. The hospital premises is filthy.” The Hospital Superintendent in-charge Dr DS Mishra told ANI over the phone that the ward dedicated to COVID has been shifted to another hospital.
“The hospital does not have an ICU ward. The hospital received equipment for ICU through the PM-Cares Fund but was not installed because of a lack of technicians. It was further given to other private hospitals,” the Superintendent in-charge said. The Civil Surgeon of Madhubani district refused to comment over the health facilities in the district hospitals amid the pandemic.
According to official data, there are 40,692 active cases of COVID-19 in Bihar. “As many as 6,44,335 cumulative cases of COVID-19 in the state, while the death toll has gone up to 4,549,” the Union Health Ministry said. (ANI)