With no more patients coming to Tata Trust hospital, which was started during the COVID-19 outbreak at Chattanchal in Kasaragod, most of the staff and doctors deputed here have been transferred to various other health centres in the district. Even as the Health department appears clueless about how to put the facility to proper use, it is likely to be closed down with maintenance expenses mounting.
While a few staff members, including two doctors who have been retained here, continue to report for duty, not a single patient has been treated here in the past few weeks. “With the number of patients reduced from what it was during the peak of the pandemic, the Health department has transferred a majority of the total 197 staff on working arrangements to other centres,” said district surveillance officer Geeta Gurudas.
She said that, however, it has been decided to set up a specialty hospital at the facility. “But there is no definitive plan as of now. Operating the existing facility is taking a toll (on the management). More than ₹2 lakh is required every month to pay the electricity bill alone,” added Ms. Gurudas.
Meanwhile, the Health department has decided to transfer the ventilators, beds and lab equipment to other hospitals in the district. The hospital comprises cabins which have rooms with at least four cots, air-conditioner and attached bathroom. There are 125 such cabins which can accommodate over 500 patients in total. The hospital was opened in September 2020.
However, many cabins have started corroding and leaking in the absence of proper maintenance. Though one of the cabins has been provided to Pakalveedu, a day care centre for people with mental illness, rest are remaining idle. There have also been demands from various organisations helping endosulfan victims to provide the space for palliative care treatment.
K.K. Ashokan, secretary of Confederation of Endosulfan Victims’ Rights Collective which helps Endosulfan survivors, pointed out that the National Human Rights Commission in 2010 had recommended the establishment of a centralised palliative care hospital with the support of the State government
He said many are still dependent on far-off hospitals. “The government is wasting the resources and the facilities which can be put to proper use for endosulfan victims and other affected people. However, nothing is being done,” said Mr. Ashokan. The government should look into the matter seriously, he added.