At a time when more than a dozen villages in Dhanbad district are in the grip of a suspected measles outbreak, the only hospital in the region specialised in treating infectious diseases is facing the prospect of closure thanks to shortage of funds, lack of medicines and absence of doctors.
The Mineral Area Development Authority (Mada), which runs the Jharkhand Chandkuia Sankramak Hospital in Dhanbad, has neither posted an allopathic doctor at the hospital for last three years nor allocated any fund to it, hospital sources said.
A large number of suspected cases of measles have been reported from 18 villages of Nirsa, Gobindpur and Baghmara blocks in the district since May 2014.
But, with the specialised hospital hardly working, patients are forced to go to primary health centres or
In the absence of patients, the lone homeopath SK Singh, who is in-charge of the 54-year-old hospital, has gone on leave.
However, the staff of 27 continue to come to hospital in the hope the situation will improve
Chandkuia hospital is the only medical facility in the region catering to patients, suffering from infectious diseases, of North Chhotanagpur and Santhal Pargana divisions.
But it has become non-functional with no funds coming in.
The Mada, which is responsible for addressing health, sanitation and drinking water requirements of colliery areas, is itself facing financial crunch.
"When an organisation (Mada) is unable to pay monthly salaries of its own staff, how would it finance the hospital in charity?" said a senior official.
However, the officer said the hospital could be revived if it is attached to the nearest primary health centre (of Baliapur block).
Last year, the then managing director of Mada, SN Upadhyay, had chalked out a plan to run the hospital in joint venture with health department and Bharat Coking Coal Limited (BCCL), but he was transferred before he could execute the plan.
In 2012, the then civil surgeon Dr SB Singh sent a proposal for attaching the hospital with the primary health centre, but Mada officials did not respond.
When contacted, Mada MD Ravindra Kumar Singh said currently they were engaged in reviving the authority.
"The issue of hospital will be taken up subsequently," he said.