The Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Hospital in Warangal, Telangana is the city’s largest government-run hospital – and it’s in crisis.
Shortages of staff and equipment plague the facility. In recent weeks, the situation has forced emergency meetings to be held between hospital officials and Hospital Development Society (HDS) officials. Present included the hospital’s superintendent Dr B. Srinivasa Rao, chairperson Zilla Parishad and heads of department for general medicine and paediatrics, who related how unmet requirements had translated into shortages of vital equipment. A total of eighteen requests for equipment were reportedly submitted by heads of department at the beleaguered hospital.
“In 2016…the purported super-speciality institute lacked specialist doctors and nurses”
Such issues are not a recent phenomenon for the hospital. In 2016, The New Indian Express reported that the purported super-specialty institute lacked specialist doctors and nurses – even as plans got underway later that year for a major expansion. Posts ranging from neurophysicians to cardiothoracic surgeons lay vacant. In the years since, the situation does not seem to have improved much. Meanwhile, many specialist wards were functioning with just one doctor.
The hospital will soon benefit from financial contributions from local lawmakers. Narendra Nannapuneni, Member of the Legislative Assembly for Warangal East, donated Rs 1 crore from his constituency development fund (CDF). A pledge of Rs 25 lakh was also made by Warangal West MLA Dasyam Vinay Bhaskar, for procurement of ventilator-equipped ambulances. A budget of Rs 2.03 crore will also be made available to the hospital, through the state’s flagship healthcare scheme Aarogyasri.
The crises plaguing the MGM Hospital are far from unique to the facility. Countrywide, many hospitals are in similar positions. Shortages of medical equipment and specialist staff can frustrate patients seeking to avail high-quality, affordable healthcare – often forcing them to turn to the private sector and pay out-of-pocket. Even as efforts get underway to heal MGM, there are many hospitals – and patients – across India for whom such help seems rooted in the distant future.