KARACHI: Patients, their attendees and hospital staff were being compelled to drink unhygienic water in Karachi’s public hospitals, it was recently found.
During a survey, it was learnt the underground and overhead tanks in major government hospitals were not being maintained properly.
An official of Civil Hospital Karachi, now Dr Ruth Pfau Hospital, who wished to remain anonymous, said drinking water at the hospital was not suitable for drinking. He said underground water reservoirs of the hospital were not maintained and covered properly by hospital administration and visiting patients were compelled to drink polluted water.
He said more than 4000 patients from Karachi, interior Sindh and Balochistan visit city’s different hospitals every day. The visiting patients and their attendants are compelled to drink polluted water of underground water reservoirs, the official said. The contaminated water is supplied to various departments of hospital and staff colony as well, he said. He added there were 12 tanks which needed maintenance work done.
Another official at the hospital said there was no water treatment plant at the hospital. He said small water filter plants were installed earlier but were not sufficient.
He complained the patients and paramedical staff had to use contaminated water while worshipers were also compelled to use the contaminated water for ablution.
He said last monsoon rains had further worsened the situation as sewage water had entered water reservoirs.
Government Hospital Saudabad official Meer Muhammad said they had only one underground water tank which was cleaned after receiving instructions from Sindh High Court. He said consumption of contaminated and polluted water could give birth to water-borne diseases among patients and their attendants. He said people were compelled to purchase mineral water from medical stores to drink and for other uses.
He demanded the provincial health department officials and Karachi Water and Sewerage Board authorities to ensure supply of chlorinated water to hospitals in Karachi, to prevent patients from contracting various diseases.
Furthermore, media has learnt that Government Hospital Saudabad had no functional water filter plant.
The overhead tanks and underground reservoirs in Jinnah Hospital Karachi, Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, Services Hospital Karachi, National Institute of Child Health, local dispensaries and maternity homes were not maintained and covered properly.
Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) Deputy Director Yahya Khan said JPMC had 2 overhead tanks and 22 underground tanks. He said the water tanks were well maintained and cleaned every six months.
He said 20 small filter plants and three ultra-filtration plants were functional at the hospital which filter 6000 litres of water every hour, well enough for the hospital.
Abbasi Shaheed Hospital’s Dr Muhammad Anwer said there were not any complaints of a lack of clean drinking water anymore as they’d been using clean water.
A social worker, Qaiser Mehmood, said underground water reservoirs and overhead tanks in major public hospitals across the Sindh province were not maintained for several years now. He said clean water was not available in most of Sindh’s hospitals. He said poor patients, who cannot afford to purchase mineral water, were compelled to use the unfit and polluted water.