In sync with the times, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) director Dr YK Chawla had picked up the broom and cleaned the lawns in front of his office and launched a month’s Swachh Bharat campaign in the city’s government hospitals on September 27. So, even as there is a visible difference in cleanliness in hospitals across the city, there is a black spot.
The toilets, especially those meant for use by the public, remain in a pathetic shape. There is stink in the air, with urine on the floor and the water taps not working.
The same story is repeated at the other two government hospitals – the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32 and Government Multi Specialty Hospital, Sector 16 – with their campuses appearing clean but toilets reeking an unbearable stench.
The real challenge
So, even as cosmetically all hospitals appear clean, the challenge in making the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan a success is in ensuring clean toilets for public use.
“The PGIMER will be considered clean only when the director or deputy director can afford to use the toilet meant for the public. I don’t think I will see this in my life time,” said a professor emeritus of the PGIMER, who wished not to be quoted.
Categories of toilets
At the PGI, there are four categories of toilets each with varying levels of maintenance and cleanliness. The one beside the Bhargava Auditorium was built during Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s visit in 2009, remains locked most of the time and is used only when a VIP visits the hospital. The second category is for top functionaries and is attached to their offices in most of the cases. Another is for other doctors and staff. The worst and the fourth type are the toilets meant for the public.
Lock and key facilities?
Doctors and the staff don’t allow the public to use their toilets. These ‘exclusive’ facilities are kept under lock with keys kept at a common place, so that only ‘insiders’ can access these.
PGIMER official spokesperson Manju Wadwalkar said, “Things have improved. Toilets will improve soon.”
GMCH-32 director agrees there are problems
The two other government hospitals, the GMCH-32 and GMSH-16 also follow this ‘caste system’ of toilets.
Dr Atul Sachdev, director-principal of GMCH-32 doesn’t hesitate to accept that the toilets in the hospital are in a pathetic condition.
“Yes, the toilets are in a bad shape. However, recently we have introduced a system of checklists and each toilet is checked on fixed parameters. Weekly reports will be studied and responsibilities fixed,” said Dr Sachdev.