Fact-Finding Report on “Horrible Condition of Leprosy Home and Hospital” located at Hatibari under Jujumara Block of Sambalpur district
Having heard about deplorable situation of Leprosy Home and Hospital and starving condition of leprosy patients residing in Hatibari Leprosy Colony of Sambalpur district managed by Hind Kustha Nibarana Sangh, shortly called H.K.N.S., a 3-member Fact-finding Team of Right to Food Campaign, Odisha ( Sri Pradip Pradhan, Sri Sachikant Pradhan and Sri Sanjay Sahu ) had visited Leprosy Colony on 20.12.15 to ascertain the fact and explore the possibility of intervention of the team to ameliorate the condition of the patients.
Hatibari Leprosy Home and Hospital was established in 1950 under the able leadership of Dr. Izac Santara, a dedicated philanthropist and Padmashree- awardee. This institution is very famous in the state for its dedicated service to the leprosy patients. Leprosy patients are not only provided free treatment but also rehabilitated in the colony. Because due to social stigma and ostracism, the leprosy patients who once admitted, continue to stay there till their death. This institution is spread over 560 acres of vast track of forest and agricultural land. There are around 10 big ponds and a number of fruit bearing trees and agricultural land used for paddy cultivation. Earlier, it was managed successfully by Dr. Izac Santara, founder of the Institution which was later on taken over by the State Govt. and Hind Kustha Nibarana Sangh, a state-level Voluntary Organisation chaired by Hon’ble Governor, Odisha.
Visit of the Team
On 20.12.15, the Team reached in Hatibari at 12 noon and stayed upto 4.30 AM and made a glance of the location of leprosy colony, hospital, residence of the patients etc. The Team interacted with the following leprosy patients to understand their condition, food security situation, management of kitchen, type of food served, health service delivered to them etc. and heard their grievances, apathy and acrimonious attitude of the administration. The Team also met lone 30-years in-service employee Sri Prafulla Ku. Dev, physiotherapist in Leprosy Hospital who was available to respond the query of the Team.
1. Laxman Sah
2. Suman Sahala
3. Purandhar Seth
4. Pakhuda Padhan
5. Nayan Padhan
6. Chhalu Padhan
7. Lalit Padhan
8. Hamara Padhan
9. Tankadhar Adabar
10. Parvati Senapati
11. Dayalu Gudia
Hatibari has allotment of 450 beds for leprosy patients managed by H.K.N.S. and 20 beds managed by Govt. Presently, total no. of 160 patients are staying in Hatibari. On query about such a less number of patients staying in the Home and Hospital, they said that due to lack of proper treatment and facilities, a good number of patients have left Hatibari. It was observed that most of the patients are old and staying there since last 20 to 30 years without any contact with their original family members. They stay here completely isolated from the family and their relatives who hardly come to visit them. The physical condition of the older patients was found very precarious. The room allotted to them are found dirty, dark and half-broken. Most of the Leprosy affected persons are staying in dark room without electricity. The Team visited a home of woman leprosy patients. This Home is a big dark Hall with electricity connection. There are two small bulbs which hardly gives light to the room. The Team came across a new 20-bedded hospital which was inaugurated by Sri Rohit Pujari, local MLA is housed by twenty woman leprosy patients. They complained of not being provided proper treatment and ulcer of their body is not being properly dressed by the dresser. There is one ANM and two staff nurse appointed in the hospital but they hardly remain present.
On query about management of Hospital, the patients and inmates said that there was no doctor or supervisor appointed in Hospital since last few years. The post is lying vacant. Nobody from Govt. side has been posted in Hatibari to manage it. There is also no attendant appointed to look after the patients. As reported by the patients, Cotton and Bandage is not available as per requirement of the Hospital. Dressing of ulcer is not being done regularly. It was found that many patients are using their dresses to cover up ulcer which gives very bad smell. Due to lack of proper treatment, the health condition of the patients is deteriorating day by day.
The Team was informed that three number of patients named Laxman Sa, Suman Sahala, Purandhar Seth were not provided food since April 2015, as they were unable to collect wood required for preparation of food for the patients. Then, the Team members got anxious to know more about management of kitchen in Hospital. The Team visited the kitchen and found very terrible arrangements. Neither the cook nor any Manager has been appointed for preparation of food. On query about suppliers of materials, they said that they had not seen the supplier supplying rice, grocery and vegetables. The patients are collecting wood and preparing food for them. They have been asked by authority to collect wood, as allocation of Rs. 50.00 per patient per day is insufficient for preparation of food. As there is no Manager to look after kitchen, the groupism has been developed among them in due course of time and few of them are dictating everything and taking decision on their wish and fancies. As the patients are unable to collect wood due to their physical deformity, they are denied food. It was found that many inmates are practising beggary and surviving on alms. The patients are provided only rice, dal and hardly vegetable curry except chicken provided twice in a month.
On return from Hatibari, the Team met Prafulla Kumar Dev, Physiotherapist, the lone staff who was found for interaction and enlightened the Team about mismanagement and precarious condition of the patients in Hospital. He said that there was no supervisor in Home ad Hospital since last 15 years. The post of Doctor is lying vacant for few years. There is one dresser named Bipin Biswal appointed for dressing of 160 patients. The Hospital is completely in mess and left managed by nobody. During my career, I have been disgusted and disillusioned here.
1. Leprosy is a dreaded disease in India. A Leprosy-affected patient requires constant treatment to get cure. The Leprosy-affected people are seen ostracised by the people in the society. Keeping it in view, the philanthropist Organsations came forward to render their voluntary services to the people suffering from leprosy by providing them free shelter, food and treatment. Dr. Izac Santara, eminent Social Worker set up Hatibari Leprosy colony for free treatment and rehabilitation of the patients. Once upon a time, this Institution was very famous for rendering best service to the affected people and rehabilitating them. In due course of time, its sanctity has deteriorated a lot after it is taken over by Govt. Due to mismanagement, carelessness, corruption, lackadaisical attitude, this Home and Hospital has been reduced to Jungle Raj and chaotic atmosphere reigns there.
2. As reported by the patients, there is no manager appointed by the Govt. to look after this Home and Hospital spread over 540 acres of land. The post of Doctor and Attendant is lying vacant for several years.
3. Dressing of Ulcer is the most important part of treatment of Leprosy patients. But one Dresser Bipin Biswal has been appointed for dressing of Ulcer of 160 patients. It is also complained that Sri Biswal never comes regularly to the Hospital. Due to this problem, the ulcer of the patients is not being dressed regularly and properly and remained out of cure.
4. It was also complained that Cotton Gauze and bandage is not being supplied sufficiently to the requirement of Hatibari Hospital for which treatment is not being done properly. It was found that the woman patients have tied their saree around ulcer of the body.
5. Kitchen is completely in mess. Nobody is there to manage it. No cook has been appointed to prepare food The patients are managing kitchen, cooking food, collecting wood on their own without any accountability. They also do not know the name of the supplier who supplies rice, dal and vegetables. It was found that a Contractor has been appointed by the Govt. to supply the same. As per the RTI information, there is allocation of Rs.50/- for food per patient per day. As reported by the patients, the meal provided to them is only rice and dal and to some extend little vegetables. It was observed that lack of proper management of kitchen has led monopoly of few people to manage the same on their whims and fancies and rise of groupism among them which is very dangerious trend in a Hospital.
6. The Team found that three patients named Laxman Sa, Suman Sahala, Purandhar Seth were not provided food since April 2015, as they were unable to collect wood required for preparation of food for the patients.
7. The Homes allotted patients in different location are found in wretched condition. Most of the houses are half-broken and unusable. The condition of woman patients is very precarious.
8. No medical staff and H.K.N.S. Staff is residing in the campus. Nobody is there to take care of the patients, if someone becomes serious and requires immediate hospitalisation.
9. It is alleged that the patients suffering from other disease like fever, cough, dysentery etc. medicine is not provided properly.
Recommendation of the Team
1. Releasing the gravity of the situation and deplorable condition of the patients, the Team strongly recommends to State Govt. to enquire into the mismanagement of Hatibari Home and Hospital and take necessary action against the Officials and staff of H.K.N.S. responsible for it.
2. The vacant posy of Doctor, attendant and other post should be filled up immediately on war footing way.
3. A dedicated Manager should be appointed for management of Home and Hospital at Hatibari.
4. A Manager and required number of cooks should be appointed to look after the kitchen at Hatibari.
5. A sum of Rs. 100.00 to be allotted per patient per day for food of the patients.
6. Sufficient Dresser should be appointed and necessary instruction should be issued to them to stay in campus. Sufficient cotton gauze , bandage should be allotted for treatment of patients. If there is any corruption in supply of cotton gauze, necessary enquiry must be conducted and action to be taken accordingly.
7. The patients who are denied food should be supplied meal as early as possible.
8. Sufficient medicine should be supplied to the Hospital for treatment of patients.
Signature of Members of Fact-finding Team
Pradip Pradhan Sachikant Pradhan
State Convener Member, Right to Food Campaign, Odisha
Right to Food Campaign, Odisha M- 9439487471
Plot No-D-27, Maitree Vihar
Post-Rail Vihar, Bhubaneswar-23