Friday, September 18, 2020

Junior doctors strike enters fourth day in Osmania Hospital

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Hyderabad: The ongoing strike by junior doctors from Osmania Medical College (OMC) entered its fourth day as the impasse between the striking medicos and the Osmania General Hospital (OGH) administration continued. Talks between both sides bore no fruit, as the students are adamant with their demand to get better facilities and a dedicated space for elective surgeries.

The issue is a result of the main building, which is a heritage structure, being shut since July 22 after it was flooded with rain water. The old hospital building is a huge place, and could accommodate various rooms and operation theaters in it. With the state government deciding to keep it shut, there is a space crunch, as everything has been shifted to the Quli Qutb Shah block, which has been hit by one problem after another.

Dr. B. Nagender, superintendent, OGH, said that they held talks with junior doctors on Friday, but that the issue could not be resolved. “They want more space for operation theaters, so the strike is still on. However, they are attending emergency duties, so patients will not face any problems,” h assured, when contacted by siasat.com.

It may be noted here that the old building, which was shut on the premise that it is unstable and unsafe (after getting flooded by rain water, due to which it has been shut), has not seen even a drop of water enter the building all through August and September. The flooding in July was a result of a sewer line, that passes under OGH, getting blocked.

A senior OGH official, who did not want to be quoted, said that a request was also placed to higher-ups to reopen the old building, but to no avail. “They think it is unsafe, and don’t want to take any chances. The Quli Qutb Shah block has several problems, and they have asked us to adjust, or else shift patients to the Petlaburj Govt. Hospital,” the official informed.

As of now, close to 200 junior doctors and interns of OMC, who work at the state-run Osmania General Hospital, 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 since July in the Quli Qutb Shah block.

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. “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. 

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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