Health, Hygiene and the Hospital

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Come August each year, coinciding with the entry of a new set of 800 odd freshmen, comes the spectre of Dengue. This is accompanied with a myriad of other problems, such as cleanliness in the campus, hygiene in the messes and night messes and the quality of food on campus. The BSP and the SAC make an attempt to check whether concerns from the past have been addressed and what new problems have arisen.
The SAC conducted a survey to gauge student’s opinions about the hospital, and to collect their suggestions.

Some of the major complaints and suggestions with regards to the hospital were:

  1. Long waiting times: The queueing system at the hospital needs to be improved. As of now, the queueing is basically an informal system wherein patients coming in early enter first. A digitised token system can be set up wherein appointments for each doctor are granted through tokens.
  2. Increasing the number of available doctors: Students feel that the number of doctors available in the hospital are inadequate. This can be addressed by tying up with specialist doctors from different hospitals, as well as inviting doctors from private agencies on a consultative basis.  
  3. Nighttime doctors: While severe cases of illness are not too high at night, students still feel that a full time doctor should be available at night to cater to emergencies.  
  4. Make the hospital’s functionality coherent with the facilities: Given that the hospital lacks space, perhaps reducing the functionality and making it coherent with the facilities would be a good thing to do. Heavy medical tasks such as surgeries could be outsourced to hospitals outside campus through an MoU, whereas IIT hospital could be utilised better for First Aid, pathology, emergency services and operate essentially as a clinic, better equipped to deal with larger patient flow and less serious cases.
  5. Patient data should dictate when doctors are available, and what sort of facilities are immediately required. So for instance, during dengue season when patient inflow is maximum, arrangements can be made accordingly.

    We talked to Dr. Brahm Prakash to find out what the administration is doing to address these issues. Here are some of the points he raised:
    1. At night, the whole team with ambulance is present and a doctor is available on call. It does not make sense to appoint a full time doctor for the night time when the frequency of patients is low.
    2. A project has begun to hire doctors from several agencies. A pilot had been run to this end, wherein the IITD hospital had hired three doctors from Apollo during the monsoons to cater to the increase in Dengue cases. The pros of hiring such doctors is that there is no need to provide them the same benefits as those mandated to government doctors. The BUG has already approved the creation of 6 specialist posts at the hospital, but this remains unimplemented due to the lack of consensus in the Hospital Advisory Committee to hiring private doctors.
    3. The hospital is considering a move to allow students to directly call ambulances from different hospitals. This will allow them to go to hospitals of their choice, instead of the ones where the IITD ambulance took them to.
    4. Students should check the availability of different doctors on the hospital website so they can make their appointment accordingly. A monthly schedule is available on hospital.iitd.ac.in which highlights the availability of all medical officers on each day of the month.

     


    Watchdog:

    1. Hygiene in messes: This is a long standing issue that the student community has repeatedly raised in SAC meetings, maintenance meetings in the hostel and mess meetings. There is no dearth of incidents where students have found centipedes, cockroaches, hair, beetles and other ‘exotic’ varieties of insects in the food served in messes. With the recent incident wherein a dead rat was found in chutney served during breakfast in Aravalli, this issue has attained an unacceptable and disgusting peak. This has certainly resulted in some immediate overhauls in the hygiene maintained in messes with the Director personally looking into this issue. There also have been demands to separate the mess fees and the accommodation fees components from each other, given that students prefer not to eat in the mess and yet have to pay.
    2. Open drains –  There are lots of small open drains and damaged drain covers on campus, a festering ground for mosquitoes during the monsoons. One such example is the drain next to Kailash. We were given assurances that the relevant authorities have been informed of this and that work has already begun. Also, the Dean of Infrastructure said they have been on the issue since past 3 months and there are plans to convert it into a sitting area and the naala into a ‘stream ‘or a ‘Lake’.
    Test sample collection timings for Dengue need to be extended beyond the limited hours they are as of now.

    3. Garbage thrown in campus: The initiative to make the environment in campus clean and hygienic is a two way street. It is unacceptable that students throw garbage – both wet and dry – in the the tree-lined area near Girnar, especially when there is no dearth of dustbins near this area. We posted about the garbage thrown at WindT after the textile fresher’s party earlier this semester as well. We urge students using to exercise basic civic sense and not use campus as a garbage dump. There is also a lack of dustbins in the Lecture Hall complex, which needs to be addressed immediately.

    4. Used plates of food left in hostels: While this is endemic to certain hostels where the policy against this issue is not so strict, it is a crying shame that students cannot commit to maintaining cleanliness. One cannot have the gall to bring a plate of mess food to their room, leave it outside after eating and then complain about the rats, flies and other insects that the rotting remains attract.


    5. Bathrooms: The lack of hygiene in bathrooms is another comment on the almost absent civic sense in the students of IIT. Un-flushed toilets and wash basins clogged with trimmed hair are a common sight in the men’s hostels, along with waterlogging and used sachets of shampoos on the floor.

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