Carrying an empty tablet strip, Bibaan enters the Sector 12-A dispensary premises only to find all the doors locked. “I am suffering from fever. My medicines are finished and I wanted more, but the dispensary is closed,” she says on her way back.
Bibaan’s husband works as a helper in a shop and she cannot afford consulting a private doctor. Just outside the dilapidated building of the dispensary, a message in Hindi reads that the ‘dispensary is closed due to the Pulse Polio drive. There is one medical officer and a dentist posted here and both are on Pulse Polio drive duty. “We have to supervise the drive, so we have to close the dispensary,” said Dr Naureen, in-charge of the dispensary, who was at the dispensary though, when contacted.
Almost all the dispensaries where people usually from low-income group go have been closed in Panchkula city for the last 2 days due to the Pulse Polio drive. The HT team also checked dispensaries in Sectors 7, 8, 10, 16, Mansa Devi Complex (MDC) on Tuesday and all were closed.
Confirming the closure of dispensaries, chief medical officer (CMO) Dr VK Bansal reasoned, “We have set up 424 booths. We needed staff and deputed dispensary employees as we cannot afford to withdraw people from the General Hospital in Sector 6.”
Sector 12-a facility serves as storehouse
A big pothole welcomes you when you reach the gate of Sector 12-A dispensary. Calling for urgent renovation and whitewash, the dispensary has damp walls, some window panes broken and rooms have been reduced to a store.
An official claimed that the dispensary had an inflow of 100 patients daily. But there is little space for people to sit while waiting for their turn.
“We have got prepared an estimate for renovation. Once it gets approved, Public Works Department will complete the work. From our side nothing is pending,” said Dr Bansal.
“The health administration should be ashamed of the condition of the building. Who will go for treatment in such a building? It has not been renovated since it was constructed despite my repeated requests,” said councillor Lily Bawa, under whose area the dispensary falls.
No different in Sector 19
The building of urban slum dispensary in Sector 19 is also crying for immediate whitewashing. As per officials, it is under Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) and once it gets transferred to the health department, the renovation will be undertaken.
The dispensary caters to a population of about 20,000-25,000 as Baltana residents who fall under Zirakpur also come here. But there are just two doctors, one of them is on contract, while the regular doctor is busy in the Pulse Polio drive.
Dr NK Gupta, who retired as deputy director health, said, “We get around 200 patients daily. There is evening OPD also,” he said. Despite heavy rush, there is little space for patients to sit and most of them have to stand in queue till they reach the doctor for examination.
The dispensary also works as a delivery hut and per annum over 250 deliveries are got done here. But there are just four nurses, one gynaecologist, two pharmacists (one of them is likely to be relieved soon), two laboratory attendants (one of them is likely to be relieved soon) and one clerk.
The toilets are in bad shape here, urinals are without flush and taps missing from the washbasin.
Local councillor Ravi Kant Swami said, “The dispensary doesn’t even have its own sweepers. It is the municipal corporation’s sweepers who are cleaning the courtyard of the dispensary. The building should be renovated and staff should be strengthened.”