The Holy Family Hospital (HFH) hostels are in a deplorable condition and serving as a “cesspool of disease”, hospital doctors living in the free-of-charge accommodation told The Express Tribune on Monday.
Of the total 16 washrooms in the males’ hostel and 10 in the females’ hostel, a majority have broken washbasins, taps and flush toilets, while some are pooled up with drain water due to choked gutters. To top it off, the doctors said that the water being supplied in the hostel - which they use for bathing, dish washing and laundry - is also contaminated. They said due to such unhygienic conditions, many doctors are falling victim to dysentery, cholera, malaria and various skin diseases.
“Due to the awful condition of the washrooms it becomes difficult for us to even stand there, but we are helpless as we have no other place to go,” said a doctor who lives in the hospital hostel, requesting not to be named. She said because there is no proper place available for laundry and dishwashing and they are forced to do these chores in the washrooms as well. She added that the insanitary conditions have made the washrooms “a hot spot” for mosquitoes and other pests.
There are a total of 90 male doctors and 80 female doctors living in the two hostels, which are being ‘maintained’ by only one sweeper. “The sweeper is overburdened which is one of the main reasons why the hostel washrooms are a mess,” said another doctor, also requesting anonymity.
But the deplorable condition of the HFH hostels washrooms are not the only concern for doctors, they complained that there is no gas connection in the building. The gas connection was cut around four or five years ago and since then the winters have been difficult to bear, the doctor. “After completing a 36-hour shift, it becomes difficult to sleep well in the freezing rooms,” he added.
He said that due to the cold a lot of doctors end up catching flue and even pneumonia.
The doctors said that the hostel administration does not allow them to use electric heaters fearing that it might trigger a fire in the hostel, forcing them to spend the entire winter without a heating system.
Young Doctors Association (YDA) Rawalpindi Chapter Joint Secretary Dr Junaid Abbasi, who also serves in HFH, said they had a meeting with the newly reinstated principal of Rawalpindi Medical College (RMC), Dr Musaddiq Khan, in which they raised various issues including renovation of the washrooms and provision of gas facility. He said the principal has assured that the washrooms will be renovated and all other issues of the doctors will be addressed.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 17th, 2012.