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Sunday, Nov 17, 2019

Civic hospitals fail Malegaon

Run by the Malegaon Municipal Corporation (MMC), the hospital has no ambulance service. The victims were brought in handcarts, reports Dhaval Kulkarni.

india Updated: Sep 10, 2006 05:09 IST
Dhaval Kulkarni
Dhaval Kulkarni

A musty smell hangs heavy in the air as you enter the NN Wadia Hospital.

The beds have no sheets. The plastic covers are stained with blood. This is where the locals took Friday’s victims.

Run by the Malegaon Municipal Corporation (MMC), the hospital has no ambulance service. The victims were brought in handcarts. The only consolation is an ambulance donated by some residents.

A nearby plaque says the hospital was inaugurated in 1935. It looks as if time has stood still since then in the 30-bed hospital.

“Nothing seems to have changed here in 70 years. The hospital lacks basic medicines and at times, the only treatment given to serious accident patients is saline,” said Mazhar Anwar, a social worker. “The hospital is only equipped to deal with gynaecological cases.”

Things were bad on Friday, with the injured and dead pouring in, said a hospital staffer. “We were helpless because of lack of facilities and referred cases to private hospitals, even to Dhule and Nashik.”

Many injured died on the way due to bleeding.

Things are no better at Ali Akbar Hospital, the other civic medical centre. Residents said things here are so bad at times that cowherds even tether their animals in the hospital.

The only hope for the common man is the Nashik rural hospital or private nursing homes.

The poor have to undertake an arduous journey to places like Dhule, Nasik and Pune for surgeries. The rest suffer in silence.

In the aftermath of Friday’s blasts, people feel let down by the already creaking public health infrastructure. Despite assurances from the government that their medical expenses would be compensated, relatives of the injured are worried about the high cost of treatment.

“As civic polls are just four months away, politicians are interested in whipping up communal sentiments,” said Ahmed Rashid, a daily wager. “The local Congress MLA boasts that he increased the tally of the Congress in the MMC to 50 corporators from nine in five years, but has no interest in developmental work,” he further explains.

After the October 2001 riots in Malegaon, Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh had promised the town a super-speciality government hospital — which never materialised.