Friday, September 25, 2020

Demanding better facilities, Osmania Hospital junior docs go on strike

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Hyderabad:Left with no other choice, close to 200 junior doctors and interns of Osmania Medical College (OMC), who work at the state-run Osmania General Hospital (OGH), have boycotted duties and gone on strike. The decision was taken after no action was taken by the OGH management in spite of repeated complaints from doctors. Several infrastructure issues have cropped up in the hospital mainly as the old building was shut in July, and everything was shifted to a new block. 

A representation from the Osmania Telangana Junior Doctors Association to the management, dated September 9, said, “In spite of several representations regarding basic healthcare facilities in OSMANIA to respected superintendent sir, respected DME, our issues regarding operation theatres, wards, fully equipped ASC, and post operative wards are still left unresolved. We are forced to go on strike, boycotting OPDs, elective surgeries, and ward duties from 9 September 2020 until our demands are met.”

A junior doctor from the association, who did not want to be quoted, said that about 170 to 200 interns, house surgeons, and post graduates will be boycotting duties as part of their strike. “The issues are in the Quli Qutb Shah, where everything was shifted after the old building was shifted. No alternative operation theatres or blocks have been set up since it was shut in July, and we were being adjusted in the same Quli Qutb Shah block. There is lack of social distancing as well,” he added. 

In spite of infrastructure issues, why keep old block shut?

The entire issue here seems to be linked to the closure of the old heritage building in the OGH premises, which was shut down after rain water flooded the ground floor on July 22. It was later found that the flooding as a result of a choked sewer that passes from underneath OGH. This was corroborated and confirmed even by OGH superintendent Dr. B. Nagender. 

The closure of the main building has also crippled the hospital’s services, especially during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, when the hospital is also receiving several COVID-19 suspected patients, who are being kept in an isolation ward. As reported previously by saisat.com, junior doctors from OGH have been complaining of various issues since July, after the old building was shut. 

They had previously pointed out that patients were being turned away as there is no space for Operation Theatres, except for emergencies. “All this time we have not been doing elective surgeries, as only emergency surgeries are taking place in the new block where all patients have been shifted to. There is acute shortage of oxygen supply in the new block,” another doctor from OGH, who did not want to be quoted, said. 

Moreover, a shocking incident of infrastructure damage also came to light in the Quli Qutb Shah building earlier this month. A huge patch of the ceiling’s plaster fell-off inside the bathroom of a duty doctor within the block. Not surprisingly, doctors said that the block is riddled with other issues, like shortage of medical instruments as well.

When contacted, Dr. Nagender confirmed that the junior doctors are on strike, and told siasat.com that the hospital administration is discussing the issue with the medical students to solve the problem. 

History of OGH

OGH was completed in 1925 after Hyderabad was affected by the bubonic plague around 1911. The city administration then took care of the issue, following which the then Nizam Osman Ali Khan (1911-48) set up the City Improvement Board (CIB) in 1912 to improve Hyderabad’s infrastructure. It was designed by architect Vincent Esch, who also designed the Victoria Memorial in Kolkata.

The OGH’s old building (along with others like High Court and City College) is an excellent example of the Osmanian style or Indo Saracenic genre of architecture. It is an integral part of Hyderabad’s 20th-century riverscape and skyline. The CIB during the reign of Osman Ali Khan had transformed the medieval city into a modern metropolis, complete with infrastructures like the High Court, railway stations, schools and OGH.

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