The attendants of patients at the Safdarjung Hospital are now learning to restrict their liquid intake in the evenings. As soon as the clock strikes 4 pm, shutters come down on toilets in the Out-Patient and Emergency Departments in the premier medical institute. Attendants with patients in these departments are not allowed access to other departments.
It was revealed during a visit by this DNA correspondent that one of the Central government’s biggest hospitals shuts down its toilets once the OPD services are over. The OPD functions from 9 am to 4 pm. Afterwards, many attendants can be seen urinating outside on the walls of the hospital.
“What are we supposed to do? The toilets are locked and we are not allowed to go inside other wards. My brother is here in the Emergency Department and there are no toilets for people like us,”said Chunni Singh, an attendant.
According to sources, it is not only the attendants who are in a fix. Sometimes, even the patients have to face this problem.
Shifting the blame, however, a senior administrative official at the hospital said: “Many times, attendants throw gauze or pieces of cloth inside the toilets, which then get clogged. In order to prevent the problem, we shut down a few toilets. The ones for the patients remain operational.”
Despite repeated attempts, the hospital’s Medical Superintendent (MS) Dr. AK Rai did not respond to DNA’s queries. The hospital witnesses a footfall of nearly 8,000 people daily.
The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, aims to make India open defecation-free by year 2019. As part of the mission, 12 crore toilets will be constructed in rural India by October 2019, at an estimated cost of Rs 1.96 lakh crore.