Sitting in a small room, the lone doctor at Civil Dispensary, Hallomajra, provides healthcare services to the underprivileged population of around 21,000. Sitting on the floor, nearly 100 patients wait outside for their turn. The patients don’t complain much about shortage of medicines and inadequate infrastructure if they can meet the doctor.
The dispensary comprises three rooms and has inadequate space and fewer benches. At the entrance, patients can be seen sitting on the floor while waiting for their turn. Staff members have placed mats on the floor for the ‘convenience’ of patients.
The dispensary is shortstaffed. On days the doctor is not available, patients continue with the medicines prescribed earlier. A staff member at the dispensary on condition of anonymity said, “There are only three ANMs (auxiliary nurse midwife), two Asha workers, one pharmacist, and no counsellor. We need more staff to give better services to these patients.”
Similar was the situation at Civil Dispensary, Maloya, which caters to around 30,000 people of the area. On an average, the dispensary caters to about 150 patients daily. Unlike the dispensary in Hallomajra, patients here are not offered mats but are forced to stand outside the premises and wait for their turn. Not only this, here the patients are deprived of the facility of drinking water as well.
“We have asked the authorities to provide water coolers and they have agreed to it. Also, we have demanded that the municipal corporation should construct a waiting hall for patients. The problem is more during the summer season, when they have to stand outside in scorching heat,” said an official at the Maloya dispensary.
Meanwhile, the patients waiting in queue for their turn had a long list of complaints to share. Rajwati, a resident of Maloya said, “The doctor is good but we do not get all the medicines from the dispensary. If a doctor prescribes us five medicines, then we hardly get one or two from the dispensary, rest we have to purchase from the market, which is not possible at times.”