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Newborn unit at RIMS opened but not functional

Newborn unit at RIMS 'open' yet closed
- Hospital director cites lack of patients while insiders blame dearth of nurses

Ranchi, Jan. 14: A special care neonatal unit, inaugurated with much fanfare last month by health minister Hemlal Murmu, is yet to start functioning as RIMS is facing an acute shortage of nurses, although the authorities of the state's premier hospital claim otherwise.

RIMS director insisted the real reason why the unit was closed was because there were no patients, though nurses admitted there were too few of them to manage all the departments of the busy hospital.

Set up by the state government in collaboration with Unicef, the neonatal unit is meant to provide care at birth, treat sick newborns, do follow-up on high-risk babies, provide referral services and train medical officers and nurses of districts in newborn care.

A visit to the unit today revealed it was locked while no one was around to provide information.

"So far, we have not found any patient who requires specialised treatment in the unit. The moment we receive such patients, the unit will be functional," claimed RIMS director Tulsi Mahto.

Asked why the unit was locked, he said it was for the security of medical equipment, worth lakhs. "If the unit is kept open, someone may manhandle the expensive tools," he added.

However, sources revealed that as many as 24 nurses were required to run the unit, where newborns suffering from serious ailments are to be admitted for intensive medical care. But the hospital did not have so many caring hands.

"At present, there are only 468 nurses at RIMS — 376 appointed on contract basis while 92 are permanent. Thirty per cent of nurses are not available as they are on leave. The remaining strength is deputed shift-wise at various wards — four intensive care units, operation theatres, trauma centre, and emergency wards besides cottages where VIPs are admitted. In such circumstances, it is difficult to spare 24 nurses exclusively for the Special Care Newborn Unit, where one attendant is required for one patient," a nurse revealed on condition of anonymity.

However, the head of the paediatrics department, A.K. Sharma, promised to start the unit soon, though he wouldn't give a deadline.

According to sources, arrangements were being made to rope in 20 nurses — 12 regular and eight senior nursing students — to start the department by Monday, January 17.

There are 16 beds in the unit. Available equipment include pulse oximeters, photo therapy machine and radiant warmer, besides monitors, weighing machine, oxygen concentrator and infusion pump.

Unicef has provided four doctors for providing Level II care which means all sorts of treatment for babies and children except mechanical ventilation and major surgical interventions. source-telegraphindia.com

RIMS ignores free pill

Ranchi, Jan. 23: A governing body pep pill has had no effect on Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS), which remains insouciant as far as listing free medicines for patients is concerned.

A January 18 meeting — attended by health minister Hemlal Murmu, health secretary A.K. Basu and South Chotanagpur commissioner Sheela Kisku Rapaz among others — had directed the RIMS authorities to display lists of free medicines available for patients at different wards so that the poor could benefit.

However, not a single display board could be spotted at any of the wards in the four-storey building and attendants were seen purchasing medicines from drug stores outside the hospital premises.

Krishnanand Mishra, who has come all the way from Rejo village in Garhwa's Meral block to see friend Heera Baitha in the ICU, corroborated the fact that there was no such list on display. "I had heard that there would be a board listing medicines available for free, but found none in the ICU or anywhere else. Forget medicines, I saw no doctor attending to my friend, while nurses were very rude," Mishra said, expressing concern over management at RIMS.

A nurse at the surgical ward conceded that it was not practically possible to display names of all medicines and their availability status.

"There are only two nurses in this ward and a lot of work to be done. In such a situation, it is difficult for us to list more than 100 medicines," she said.

Not willing to be named, she also added that listing free medicines might trigger a mad scramble and the quantity provided by the hospital administration was limited. "If we fail to provide to all patients, who are mostly poor, there will be ruckus," she said.

Director of RIMS Tulsi Mahto, however, played down the issue. He said lists of medicines would be put up soon. "We have started working in that direction after the governing body directive on January 18," he said.

In the first phase, the RIMS management plans medicine display boards in all the four intensive care units. The same will gradually be done at all the 23 wards, Mahto added.

The governing body had prodded display of lists after it came to know that the state-run premier health institute did not provide free medicines to the poor despite provision for the same.

Other decisions taken at the crucial meeting included outsourcing of catering services, appointment of an advocates' panel, provision for separate departments for TB, chest, psychiatry and paediatric surgery, upgrade of neurosurgery operating theatre and extension of contract of the existing security agency.source-telegraphindia.com

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