After taking over as Medical Superintendent of GB Pant Hospital, Dr Shafqat Khan put into motion a slew of measures which have not only improved patient care at the lone paediatric hospital of the Valley, but it has also changed the way patients are attended to in government-run hospitals.
- KS) Tell us about your career and the places where you have worked over the last two decades of your active public service.
- SK) I have nearly 20 years of service in public healthcare infrastructure development and delivery in the state of J&K. I got Master’s Degree in Health Management from Osmania University, Hyderabad. I worked in key administrative positions as Health Officer, Srinagar Municipal Corporation and Officer on Special Duty, Health and Medical Education Department. I am presently working as Medical Superintendent, GB Pant Cantonment General/Children Hospital, Srinagar. I have also been certified as an expert in e-governance from the National Institute of Smart Government, Hyderabad and Disaster Management from Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre, Thailand.
- KS) Earlier, GB Pant Hospital had earned a bad name in terms of patient care. What was the reason?
- SK) The most probable reasons for the bad name to the hospital seemed to be of management issues, low level of sanitation and hygiene, and improper utilisation of funds.
- KS) What is the present scenario of patient care in GB Pant Hospital?
- SK) Today we can boast of advanced machinery and infrastructure in the hospital with sufficient number of ventilators supported by critical investigations like CT Scan, USG/Doppler, Echocardiography and advanced state-of-art laboratory supported by a full fledged Blood Bank which works 24×7 having a capacity of 400 points.
Sanitation and hygiene has become top priority of the hospital and all latest techniques are being adopted to disinfect highly critical areas and other parts of the hospital. A hospital Infection Control Committee has been set up which meets at specified intervals in order to closely monitor sanitation and hygiene issues.
- KS) As the administrative head of the hospital, what are the initiatives you have taken so far to improve the patient care?
- SK) A very systemic healthcare delivery system has been put in place wherein thrust is laid on strengthening the patient-attendant and healthcare provider relations. Frequent training is imparted to healthcare professionals about instituting behavioural changes. Attendants are frequently being counselled about the outcome of diseases of their patient. We offer confidence building measures during regular meetings between the doctors and the patients or their attendants. Dress code has been made mandatory for all classes of employees ranging from doctors, nurses, drivers and supportive staff. The Intensive Care Units have been assigned particular uniform which is colour coded. Each employee is given a feel of being a stakeholder in the affairs of the hospital and its outcome. In a few areas, a corporate touch has been given.
Sanitation and hygiene has been given top priority in the hospital and cleaning is done in four shifts. Cleanliness outside the hospital has been outsourced to keep the hospital surroundings neat and clean throughout day and night. A fool-proof security system has been put in place to discourage/disallow large number of visitors from entering the hospital, especially in the critical care areas
- KS) The mortality rate remained high at this hospital in recent years. What is the present situation?
- SK) The neonatal mortality rate has gone down tremendously since March 2015 and the trend is showing a remarkable decline. It is pertinent to mention that the neonatal mortality rate in the hospital is far lower than the national rate. The neonatal mortality in March 2015 was 34 while as in March 2016, it was only 15.
- KS) What are the new machines and facilities added to this hospital?
- SK) We have got 16-Slice CT Scan machine, echocardiography, Colour Doppler (USG Machine), state-of-art licensed Blood Bank, fully automatic Biochemistry Analyzer, environmental friendly firefighting equipment, Two Winger Ambulances, Hospital website/e-hospital, Gel Technology (Bio Rad) with Microcentrifuge & Micro Incubator, Blood Refrigerator (Hellmer), Deep Freezer, Centrifuge, Fully Automatic Bleeding Couches, four tier electrical support system for ventilators and other electrical equipment in the hospital which includes UPS systems of six hours backup, two generators with capacity of 250 KVA and 320 KVA, one generator 320 KVA at 22 feet above ground, two 20 KVA generators on top floor of the hospital, Infant and Young Child Feeding and Nutritional Rehabilitation Centre counselling.
A sewerage treatment plant is being installed in the hospital after more than a decade. Sump work Is already completed. The STP is tendered out by UEED and it will be in place within three months.
- KS) GB Pant is the only specialist paediatric care hospital in Kashmir. Don’t you feel that there is need to upgrade this hospital on modern lines like other paediatric hospitals in and outside India?
- SK) The hospital has been in a constant phase of upgradation and many sub-specialties have been added to the hospital. The most important being Paediatric Hematology, Paediatric Nephrology, Paediatric Ophthalmology and Paediatric Radiology. It is envisaged that all paediatric surgeries shall soon be done in this hospital.
Moreover, a Child Development Centre has already been set up where the facilities of Nutritional Counsellors, Infant and Young Child Feeding Counsellors, Occupational Therapist and a Child Psychologist have been introduced. A child play area is under construction which will soon be set up with a child comic library. This is in addition to the TV screens put all across the hospital like OPD, Casualty and other areas where cartoon programs are continuously beamed. Various cartoons have been placed on the walls to improve the ambience and make the walls children friendly.
- KS) Hygiene is a biggest challenge for any government hospital in Jammu and Kashmir. What are the challenges at GB Pant?
- SK) 25 trucks of garbage were removed from the premises of the hospital in July, 2015 which were scattered outside the hospital. Most of the bathrooms were choked and massive leaks were observed in and outside the bathrooms. The corridors were full of stink which dispersed to all wards and even the entrance area of the hospital. The microbiological cultures taken at various places were showing contamination with dangerous microbes and germs.
Large scale moping and cleaning operations were launched in every corner of the hospital. Disinfectants like lyzol, cetrinil, bathroom acid and other disinfectants were used to disinfect and thoroughly clean the bathrooms. Leakages were plugged. Hand hygiene was given top priority and hand sanitisers were commissioned in various areas of the hospital. Hand hygiene training programmes were held for doctors and paramedical staff, attendants and visitors to the hospital. Hand sanitizers are placed on the walls of the hospital at various places to allow and facilitate free and frequent use of hand sanitizers by visitors. The use of pheran and woollen clothing is disallowed in the hospital. The use of disposable gowns and shoe covers has been made mandatory in the Intensive Care areas.
- KS) Being a lone paediatric hospital of the valley, do you think that GB Pant Hospital has sufficient infrastructure and staff strength to cater to the flow of patients?
- SK) The short term needs of the patients visiting the hospital are being catered, despite the huge infrastructural deficiency and space constraints. However, the government has already taken steps for establishing a 500-bedded Paediatric Hospital to cater the needs of the entire Kashmir division as there is always a growing need for laying more emphasis on child health as 53 percent of the population comprises of children aged between 0-18 years.