Seeking treatment is pain here, medicine queue just doesn't end

 Sixty-nine-year-old Zaheera, a heart patient, came out panting from the dispensary at Lok Nayak Hospital. Sitting down on the floor at the dispensary’s entrance, the woman complained, “seeking treatment is a pain”.

“For three strips of capsules, I have been standing in a queue for the past three hours. But I don’t think poor people have too many options,” said Zaheera, who had come from Azadpur in north Delhi.

With the dispensary giving medicines to patients for a period of seven days at a time, this is a routine affair for Zaheera and most others. “There are no benefits for even old people like me. My husband is still standing in a queue for his medicines,” she added.

Queues in government hospital dispensaries are no exclusive sights. However, the lack of order in these dispensaries only add to the woes of long waits of patients.

Fatima, 55, had to shift four queues since 10 am. At 2 pm, she was yet to receive her medicines. “I am clueless why I was made to shift from one queue to the next. There is no order here and you will find people joining in a queue from the middle. Sirf beimaani se dawai milega idhar (You can procure medicines only by breaking the order here),” said Fatima, who had come to the hospital to get medicines for her 20-year-old son.

She added that there was a lack of coordination among the medicine distribution counters. “This adds to the chaos,” the Mehrauli resident said.

Men and women were seen jostling in each queue leading to occasional scuffles. Sushila, a diabetes patient, said, “Coming to get medicines here is a day-long affair. Since I cannot afford to buy the medicines from outside, I have learnt to be patient.”

Sitting on the floor and eating roti and sabzi from her tiffin-box, she said, “You cannot blame people for trying to join in the middle. Everybody becomes impatient after waiting for hours.”

“Even the security guards will look away carelessly the moment they see trouble brewing,” Sushila added.

For 49-year-old Nazmun, the train journey from Bulandshahr in Uttar Pradesh to Lok Nayak Hospital, proved to be almost fruitless. “I was supposed to get blood test reports of my husband, who has partial paralysis. I was told the reports are not yet ready. However, I will take some medicines back home,” said Nazmun, who had been waiting in the queue for over three-and-a-half hours.

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