Bemina Maternity Hospital: A tale of missed deadlines

3 to 4 patients occupy 1 bed at G B Pant Hospital, leading to fears of spread of infections and other communicable diseases
The government had assured to shift the GB Pant Hospital to Bemina by the end of August after missing several deadlines.
The government had assured to shift the GB Pant Hospital to Bemina by the end of August after missing several deadlines.File: Mubashir Khan for Greater Kashmir

Srinagar: The Bemina Maternity and Childcare Hospital has become a typical example of missed deadlines, despite the assurances of the officials to make it operational at the earliest.

The mega project has been waiting for its commissioning for a long time now.

The construction work on the hospital has been completed, however, it is yet to be made functional for reasons unknown.

The hospital was earlier designated as a 200-bedded Mother and Childcare Institute.

However, in 2019, it was declared to be established as a full-fledged pediatric hospital with a 500-bed capacity.

The government had assured to shift the GB Pant Hospital to Bemina by the end of August after missing several deadlines.

However, the assurances proved to be a hoax.

The work on the hospital was initially started in 2013 but the then chief minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed, in October 2015 gave it an extension and laid the foundation stone for a 500-bedded Mother-Child Hospital.

In 2019, the government accorded sanction to the conversion of the 200-bedded Maternity Hospital and the 300-bedded Pediatric Hospital at Bemina, Srinagar into a full-fledged 500-bedded Children's Hospital.

The present G B Pant Hospital has been functional at Sonwar for the past 15 years now.

It is the lone children's hospital in Kashmir that caters to children from across the Valley, and, at times, from Jammu areas as well.

Given the delay in shifting the G B Pant Hospital to Bemina, some persistent problems with the hospital have emerged over the years, impacting healthcare delivery there.

From OPD to Emergency and from wards to laboratories, every section of the hospital remains congested all the time.

Three to four patients occupy one bed at GB Pant Hospital, leading to fears of the spread of infections and other communicable diseases.

“The hospital is congested which hampers the delivery system that ultimately puts the patients at the receiving end,” said a doctor posted at GB Pant Hospital.

The G B Pant Hospital at Sonwar does not have a dedicated parking space even though it is the lone facility for children that caters to patients from as far as Ramban and Banihal districts of Jammu besides the patients from across Kashmir.

“Besides the issue of parking space, all other problems will be resolved if Bemina hospital is made functional. The intake capacity of the new hospital is double the existing one. So, we will be able to accommodate patients with more available space,” the doctor said.

The hospital falls in the cantonment area in Sonwar and on the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway.

This stretch of the road remains clogged with a heavy flow of traffic which impacts the travel of patients to the hospital.

In the past, there have been many incidents where children and patients requiring urgent treatment were stuck in traffic jams.

Over the years, poor facilities in G B Pant Hospital have come under the scanner.

It has given rise to the need for better facilities under a single roof so that children are not sent to other places for doing tests and completing other formalities related to the healthcare system.

The then government conceived the idea to shift the G B Pant Hospital to Bemina on the city outskirts with the bigger aim of decongesting the hospital and providing better facilities.

The new hospital has a bed capacity of 500 against the 200 at G B Pant Hospital.

“Apart from addressing the parking issue, more space will give an advantage of offering more and better services to the patients,” a doctor said.

The OPD services at the 500-bedded Pediatric Hospital, Bemina were started in October last year. However, the main services at the hospitals are yet to be started.

The officials said that owing to some pending electrical works, the shifting got a bit delayed.

However, they said the process of shifting has already started.

During the execution of the project, the executing agency missed three deadlines in completing the project.

The first deadline was missed in 2014, the second in 2017, and the third in 2018.

“We’ve already completed the construction of the hospital and the floor has been already occupied by the concerned health authorities to install different machines at the hospital,” Chief Engineer R&B Department, Rafiq Ahmad told Greater Kashmir.

Once the hospital becomes operational, it is expected to ease the burden on the main referral institution G B Pant Hospital which remains overcrowded and overburdened due to the huge patient rush.

Advisor to Lieutenant Governor, Rajiv Rai Bhatnagar told Greater Kashmir that some additional work needed to be done at Bemina hospital as an inspection of the hospital was recently conducted by the principal secretary.

“The additional work will be completed soon and the hospital will be ready by the end of September and we will shift after that,” he said.

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