At space constrained GB Pant Hospital, child healthcare under duress

Will shift to the larger new hospital in May: Officials
While the successive Governments over the past one decade have admitted the dire need of having a new, modern Children Hospital to cater to over 20 lakh pediatric population in Kashmir, it is yet to take the leap.
While the successive Governments over the past one decade have admitted the dire need of having a new, modern Children Hospital to cater to over 20 lakh pediatric population in Kashmir, it is yet to take the leap. File/ GK

Srinagar: The cramped and the crowded OPDs, casualty and wards at GB Pant Hospital continue to compromise delivery of healthcare for lakhs of children in Kashmir. The new hospital at Bemina, meant to ease the congestion and improve facilities, is yet to be operationalised.

It is not very uncommon to find multiple children admitted on a single bed at GB Pant Children Hospital. the emergency ward, the ICUs and other wards often have two or even three sick children being treated on a single bed, exposing each one of them to a new threat of infection.

Although the hospital was meant to have 150 beds, over the past decade, the hospital has added more beds to accommodate the patient load it gets. However, an official at the hospital said that the addition of a few beds has not solved the problem of crowding.

“The hospital is not meant to be a tertiary care hospital. It has not been designed in that manner,” he said while pointing to the various deficiencies in its structure and functioning.

While the successive Governments over the past one decade have admitted the dire need of having a new, modern Children Hospital to cater to over 20 lakh pediatric population in Kashmir, it is yet to take the leap.

The 500-bedded Children Hospital at Bemina is ready and was inaugurated in December last year. A small team of doctors have also started an OPD at the new premises, but four months since then, the actual shifting of the hospital has not taken place.

An official in the Health and Medical Education Department said that the executing agency has not handed the hospital over to Government Medical College Srinagar yet.

He added that the equipment that the new hospital needs, including incubators and ventilators, are yet to be installed. “Some equipment has arrived and some is being procured. Once we get possession of the hospital, the equipment will be installed,” he said.

Additional Chief Secretary J&K Government (Health and Medical Education) Vivek Bhardwaj said that the Government was ‘committed to improving pediatric healthcare delivery’.

“The Hospital is in its final stages, and we are expecting that it will be handed over to us by the end of this month,” he said. He added that the 500-bedded Pediatric Hospital at Bemina will be made fully operational in the month of May.

“We are positive that the complete shifting will take place next month,” he said.

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