‘Didi Ki Rasoi’ misses deadline to start service in medical college hospitals in Bihar
The pantry service by women self-help group Jeevika was to have been made functional by November 3, as per a letter of August 4 by Shishir Kumar Mishra, OSD, health department. The service, however, remains a non-starter due to some infrastructure issues, said officials.
The “Didi Ki Rasoi” kitchen service, a Bihar government initiative to provide clean, hygienic and nutritious meals to in-patients through its women self-help groups (SHGs), is running behind schedule at the 10 existing state-run medical college hospitals in the state, even as the venture is running at district and subdivisional hospitals, said people familiar with the matter.
The pantry service was to have been made functional by November 3, as per a letter of August 4 by Shishir Kumar Mishra, officer-on-special-duty, (OSD), health department. The service, however, remains a non-starter due to some infrastructure issues, said officials.
“We are unable to get the kitchen-cum-cafeteria area as per our ideal specifications due to heavy civil construction activity going on at the Patna Medical College Hospital (PMCH), Darbhanga Medical College Hospital (DMCH), and Anugrah Narayan Magadh Medical College Hospital (ANMMCH) in Gaya. This has delayed our launch in medical college hospitals,” said an official of the rural works department, requesting anonymity.
“After the initial discussion a fortnight back, none from Jeevika has approached us for the Didi Ki Rasoi service. We do not know when will the service begin,” Dr Ashok Kumar Jha, deputy superintendent, PMCH, said on Wednesday.
The PMCH is being upgraded from 2000-bed to a 5,400-bed hospital. The DMCH is being converted into AIIMS. The ANMMCH is also being renovated, located as it is in a low-lying, horizontally spread area.
“The health department has to provide us basic infrastructure so far as having a closed enclosure for the canteen-cum-cafeteria, fitting of wall and floor tiles, provisioning of deep freezer, steam cooking, earmarking space for disposal of garbage, enclosure for washing utensils, etc. are concerned,” the official quoted above said.
“We are confronting these issues in older medical colleges like the PMCH, Nalanda Medical College Hospital (NMCH), both in Patna, DMCH, ANMMCH and the Sri Krishna Medical College Hospital (SKMCH) in Muzaffarpur and the Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College Hospital (JLNMCH) in Bhagalpur, which exist in old buildings. Their cooking area do not conform to the new norms of hospital kitchen prescribed by the government of India. We will write to the health department to address these gaps or work out a fresh agreement for medical college hospitals, where we need to cater to roughly 3,000 to 4,000 patients per day, in addition to healthcare workers and attendants of patients,” said the official.
“Kitchen in the newer medical colleges like those in Bettiah, Pawapuri (Nalanda) and Madhepura conform to the Centre’s norms of hospital kitchen. So, we should be able to launch our pantry services at these locations from December,” he said.
The women SHGs under JEEViKA, a rural livelihoods project of the rural development department, was given the task of providing in-patient meals at all state-run medical college hospitals after their success at district and subdivisional hospitals.
At present, “Didi Ki Rasoi” is operational service at 56 health facilities — all 37 district hospitals and 19 of the total 46 subdivisional hospitals in Bihar. Different private agencies operate the in-patient meal service at medical college hospitals. As such, quality and standardisation of meals become a casualty.
The state government, through funds from the Centre’s National Health Mission, reimburses ₹150 per patient per day for providing two meals and breakfast to hospital in-patients.