Parents wary of hospital meals for kids

Six-year-old Zayeed’s mother was admonished by doctors at Lok Nayak Hospital when the child was found eating a burger for lunch. Zayeed has been suffering from jaundice for the past 15 days now.

“Every day my son’s lunch is sent from home. Only yesterday it did not come on time. He was hungry and I had to give him what was available in the canteen. How can I help it if he refuses to eat what is served here?” said Farhana, a resident of Turkman Gate.Most parents at the paediatric ward of the hospital complained that the food served to children was “half cooked”.

“The rice served is semi-boiled and rotis are half-cooked. The dal is watery. What nutritional value would a sick child gain from this meal? It is difficult to say if a burger is more harmful than this meal. Also, the staff serving the meals behave like they are doing a favour by doing their job,” added Farhana.

Hygiene concerns

The mother of two-year-old Saista, who has been suffering from pneumonia, voiced hygiene concerns.

“I am sceptical if the food is hygienic. People would eat this food only out of compulsion. They served khichdi last night which was like soup. The rice and rotis are equally unpalatable,” said the Jaffrabad resident.

The milk served for breakfast was not boiled, said a child’s mother from the next bed.“Every day we need to get it boiled from the canteen, which charges us between Rs 5 to Rs 10,” said the woman who refused to be identified.

“The staff here said they cannot serve boiled milk. I wanted to ask them if we should bring our gas ovens the next time my child is admitted here,” said Farhana.

However, Sandhya Devi from Uttar Pradesh felt the food was “decent”. “What more can you ask for in a hospital? They even give mousambi and a slice of cottage cheese daily. In fact, the food is sufficient for two of us.”

Her 11-year-old son is being treated for cancer since the past one month here.During his visit to the hospital on Tuesday, Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung had voiced concerns about the food being served to patients.

“The catering services are being improved. After modernisation of the kitchen system, the quality of meals will improve. We are aiming at bringing sea-change in the system. Food will not be doled out by hospital staff. Instead, meals will be served on trays and handed over to patients in the ward,” said Dr Siddharth Ramji, medical superintendent of the hospital.

A more efficient food distribution system will be achieved within the next six months, he added.

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