Chennai: Almost every State-run hospital underwent a mass cleaning exercise that left them almost unrecognizable, a day after the Chief Minister directed hospitals to increase the standards of hygiene. On Wednesday, squads of staff, conservancy workers and exterminators combed the premises of the major hospitals and ensured that they were animal-free zones. The Government Kasturba Gandhi Hospital, where a child’s disfigured body sparked uproar on Monday, looked the best of the lot as workers have been cleaning the place up over the last 48 hours.
“Almost 20 dogs, who have been permanently residing in the hospital, were taken away by the dog squad and animal welfare board officials,” said a doctor. Though the dogs weren’t violent, their presence inside the hospital has always been acknowledged as an infection risk, which is why they have been removed. The greatest change in the hospital’s grounds is the fact that there is almost no litter anywhere — not even paan stains on the walls — everything wears a clean look, as per the CM’s orders. Though drafting members of the Irula tribes to exterminate rodents is yet to begin, “all possible actions to hasten the process are being taken,” said a hospital administrator.
Also, an official who inspected the hospital along with the health minister after the rodent problem created a stink, said they have begun a drive to take stock of the status of mortuaries in hospitals across Tamil Nadu. “For a long time there have been complaints of mortuaries being in a pitiful state, even in second line cities like Madurai and Tiruchy. Now, with the government looking to ensure that there are sanitary, well-refrigerated mortuaries, we have begun an audit to find out the status of mortuaries in all hospitals,” she said. This has been necessitated because of the sorry state of the makeshift mortuary that the staff had set up at the Kasturba Gandhi hospital.
As per the CM’s instructions, hospital staff were also seen to be insistent that visitors enter the hospital only during visiting hours. “There was a little friction as people had never heard of a visiting time in a GH, but they understood that this was part of the new system, so they complied,” said Geetha, a head nurse at Kilpauk Medical College Hospital.
Problems of this nature as well as the stopping of people carrying food packets into the hospital, proved difficult for hospital security, but they managed reasonably well. Similar cleaning drives began at all the other teaching hospitals, said officials with the public health department.