LNJP fails norms, not fit to take on Ebola burden

Instructions from Health Ministry unclear, says hospital

A Union Health Ministry team has found that Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital (LNJP), which was designated by the Delhi government to offer Ebola treatment, is not equipped to deal with the disease.

The central government had identified Ram Manohar Lohiya and LNJP Hospital for treating Ebola patients after the outbreak of the disease.

The officials who recently visited LNJP Hospital as part of their review process found lacunae, which needs to be addressed. According to Health Ministry officials, “in case of an Ebola outbreak, only RML Hospital is prepared to deal with the deadly virus in the capital.”

The Health Ministry officials said LNJP Hospital does not have personal protective gears like gloves, gown (fluid resistant or impermeable) to cover clothing and exposed skin, hazmat suites, eye protection (goggles) to prevent splashes on eye, facemask to prevent splashes on nose and mouth, face shield to protect eye, nose and mouth, and closed shoes that are mandatory to deal with Ebola affected patients.

All healthcare providers upon entry into patient rooms or care areas need to wear the personal protective equipment.

Also, the isolation ward at the hospital is not at par with the ministry guidelines. According to the National Health Regulations, isolation wards or rooms should be equipped with negative airflow so that when a door is opened or closed, air flows in and not out. They should also contain their own lab facilities.

Further, the room needs to have an attached bathroom and wastes from the patient’s bathroom requires to be disinfected before it enters the sewer system.

‘Only one notification’

According to hospital authorities, LNJP received only one notification from the union ministry. It has till now failed to grapple with the fact that it was supposed to upgrade the infrastructure. There have been no “clear instructions” from the ministry yet.

“There has been no instruction since the inspection by the ministry officials. The inspection was around three weeks ago. During inspection, we informed the officials that it would not be possible to upgrade the infrastructure overnight as it needs massive modifications,” said Dr Sidharth Ramji, medical superintendent of the hospital. 

“A  new building needs to be set up if LNJP is identified as a centre (to tackle Ebola). Currently, we have an isolation ward to deal with swine flu cases. But it would not be enough to quarantine Ebola cases,” said Dr Ramji.

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