300-bed hospital in a shambles
The first thing a hospital must ensure is a clean environment where patients would be nursed back to their health. But the conditions in the admission wards of Narayanganj 300-Bed Hospital give a picture what is unbecoming of a health facility.
This is particularly true for the bed conditions. Most of them are not fit for use as they are infested with bugs and cockroaches, and the bed sheets are frayed or dirty because they are not sent to the laundry most often. And usually, they emit foul smell.
Patients say they have to receive treatment in such unhygienic conditions because they hardly have any alternative.
In a recent visit to the government hospital, this correspondent found that some patients were put on intravenous saline, and a few were asleep. Those who were awake were looking for bed bugs or killing cockroaches. Some were busy cleaning and tidying up the beds by themselves.
When this correspondent introduced himself as a journalist, the patients started pleading that the newspaper should write about the situation.
“Bug bites are a constant nuisance,” said Shefali Begum, who got admitted to the female medicine ward with stomach pain, adding, “At night, cockroaches start flying around.”
The patients also allege that when one patient leaves the hospital, the bedsheet is not changed. Those remain dirty and new patients are often given soiled bedsheets.
While talking to The Daily Star, Jannat said she was admitted a few days back with appendicitis pain. “I asked the nurses several times to change the bedcover but they did not listen,” she said.
The hospital started as a 200-bed facility in 1986. Though it was upgraded to a 300-bed hospital in 2013, in reality, 271 beds exist there now.
Lack of cleanliness is just one aspect of the beds' conditions. Many of the beds were missing legs. Bricks were put under the legs of the beds to keep them steady. But patients fear mishaps may happen if the beds shake accidentally.
To undergo a gall bladder surgery, Farzana Akhter took admission to the female medicine ward. She said, “Some of the beds need to be replaced right away. Otherwise accidents may occur anytime.”
During the visit, it was seen that at least two beds were broken in every ward. Among the five wards, the condition of the female medicine ward is the worst. There, one leg of each of the 12 beds is broken, and all of them were given support with bricks.
Fearing losing her job, a nurse said on condition of anonymity that the bed covers are not of good quality. Those get torn after one or two washes. “We informed the hospital superintendent of the problems in writing. But no action has been taken so far.”
Contacted, Superintendent of the hospital Dr Abdul Motaleb Miah said orders were placed for purchase of new beds. “The problems would go away soon.”
Narayanganj 300-Bed Hospital is the largest public hospital in the district. The government has decided to add 200 more beds and upgrade it to a medical college hospital. The design is being prepared for this, said Dr Motaleb.
Apart from this one, there is Narayanganj General Hospital with 100 beds.