The much-hyped 30-bed community health centre in the Punjab Armed Police (PAP) complex has failed its purpose. The Rs 5.7-crore facility has been reduced to treating mostly police personnel or their families.
The round-the-clock health centre started functioning two years ago after it was built to cater to residents of surrounding areas such as Rama Mandi, Guru Nanak Pura West, Guru Nanak Pura East, Bhoor Mandi, Ambedkar Nagar, Ladhewali, Professor Colony, Baba Budha Ji Nagar, Kaki Pind, Lamba Pind, Bashirpura, Kirti Nagar, Hargobind Nagar, besides parts of the cantonment and a few slums.
The health centre, which was to function as the first-level referral facility, was meant to reduce burden on district hospitals, particularly the Shaheed Babu Labh Singh Civil Hospital 4 kilometres away. That did not happen.
The health centre has seen only 95 deliveries in the past two years — 4 on an average every month. Doctors at the civil hospital deliver around 400 babies every month. In April this year, only one baby was delivered. Also, not many have availed services at the health centre’s out-patient department (OPD): the civil hospital continues to record 1,600 OPD cases every day.
Health department sources who spoke to HT on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak to the press said the health centre did not take off as expected because it was “inaccessible”. They said many patients chose to visit the civil hospital instead to avoid intense frisking and questioning by policemen guarding the PAP complex.
But officials like to believe people were not aware of the health centre. On Thursday, deputy commissioner Kamal Kishore Yadav chaired a meeting of the district health society with civil surgeon Dr Kailash Kapoor and a battery of health officials. Yadav, sources said, was furious over the low response to the health centre and ordered officials to publicise it.
District family and welfare officer (DFWO) Dr Gurmeet Kaur Duggal said the low numbers at the health centre was “surprising”. He said he will be holding a meeting with the senior medical officer to review the problems.