Officials wake up to squalid state of Yerawada mental hospital

It is Asia's biggest mental hospital and houses 1,834 patients but in squalid conditions. Spread over 110 acres, the Regional Mental Hospital in Yerawada has a 100-year-old drainage system. The inmates here wear sub-standard clothes as uniforms. Poor drainage has led to water shortage and paucity of class IV workers means unkempt wards.

On Wednesday, ahead of the World Mental Health Day (on October 10), state-level team that included Dr Sanjay Kumawat, deputy director (mental health), Dr Kanchan Jagtap, deputy director of health, Pune district, and others conducted a series of meetings to address the issues. Health Director Satish Pawar assured that the drainage system will soon be replaced. The cost has been estimated to be over Rs 1 crore and a proposal to get funds will be submitted to the state government, Pawar told Newsline

The hospital authorities have been facing severe water shortage and it has led to unhygienic conditions. Hospital sources said most of the wards are unclean and due to lack of water, some inmates had to use their clothes to wipe themselves. There are 10 wards for men and seven for women. Wards are spread across the large campus and most of the buildings are old. Health authorities said there is a daily OPD of 125 patients and at least 10 are admitted every day to the hospital.

Shortage of sweepers has affected the cleanliness of wards. Pawar said the work has been outsourced to a contractor and action will be taken against errant officials. Apart from procuring funds for replacing the drainage system, the contractor who is responsible for ensuring that the place is clean has been pulled up. The material of the cloth used for the patients' uniforms is sub-standard and we are now trying to rectify the problems, Pawar said.

Meanwhile, MLC Neelam Gorhe who visited the hospital, demanded funds allocated for construction and repair work be utilised, CCTV cameras be installed and 97 vacant posts of medical support staff should be filled up.

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