Bhopal Hospital Fire Points to Lack of Preparation for 3rd Covid Wave Threat

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Representational image.

The notice by BMC commissioner K.V.S. Choudhary had asked the Kamla Nehru hospital administration to set up fire fighting systems within one week.

BHOPAL — As the death toll in Bhopal’s Kamla Nehru hospital fire reached five on Wednesday, questions are being raised about the preparedness of the administration to tackle such a situation. It has also been found that the hospital lacked severely in its preparation for the possible third wave of Covid.

The Kamla Nehru hospital is a separate unit for children in the campus of Madhya Pradesh’s largest medical institute — Hamidia Medical College Campus.

A couple of months ago, the Union Health Ministry had advised all states to strengthen their medical infrastructure, especially for children in view of a possible third wave of the Covid pandemic, which could affect the children more.

Along with the medical infrastructures, such as beds and medicines, strengthening of the fire fighting system in hospitals was also to be a part of the preparation.

Subsequently, a notice of the Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC) citing a letter of the Union Health and Family Welfare department, had issued a notice to the Kamla Nehru hospital on April 12, this year.

The notice by BMC commissioner K.V.S. Choudhary had asked the Kamla Nehru hospital administration to set up fire fighting systems within one week.

“As per the required standard procedure, installation of fire fighting systems are mandatory in your hospital to avail for NOC from the fire department of the BMC. If fire fighting systems are already installed, submit a detailed report to the BMC within the period of 7 days,” said the notice available with IANS.

What is more surprising is that the then Bhopal Commissioner Kavindra Kivayat was the administrator of BMC in the absence of an elected Mayor. During the same period, Kivayat was also the governing body chairman of Hamidia hospital.

The tenure of the BMC Mayor expired almost one year ago and the fresh elections for the municipal corporations in Madhya Pradesh are pending due to the Covid pandemic.

A nurse, who was on duty when the fire broke out in Kamla Nehru hospital, said that she was in the same ICU ward where children were admitted. “Around 8 p.m. on Monday, a child was brought to the ICU department, who needed ventilator support immediately. In the meantime, a ward boy carried in the ventilator and as he switched on the button, the ventilator caught fire. Immediately, I picked up the child and ran to another ward.”

In view of the Covid pandemic, senior administrative officials were made in-charge of particular hospitals and they were supposed to review the preparation while inspecting them.

Amid a flood of questions raised on the security of children in government hospitals in Bhopal, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan chaired an emergency meeting with the health secretary and other senior officials. During the meeting, Chouhan directed officials to submit a report to him as soon as possible. — IANS

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