Hyderabad:The District Medical and Health Office is blank on the number of Dengue deaths that have occurred in the city. The reason is that none of the hospitals in the city have shared data with it. Though the government hospitals have a Data and Record Sharing Section, maintenance of record is not a part of their work culture.
Be it Osmania General Hospital (OGH), Gandhi Hospital, Fever Hospital, Niloufer or several others, data or maintenance of record is absent everywhere.
According to President, Osmania Medical College Doctors Forum, Dr Suresh earlier the hospital maintained case sheets on the racks, now the practice is discontinued. Speaking of the role of statistical assistants he said that today they were moving from one department to another due to short staffing leading to no concerted effort being made to collect and collate data.
In a reply to a RTI query, the Osmania General Hospital (OGH) was forthcoming in admitting that no medical reports were maintained.
Dr A Gopal Kishan retired Superintendent, OGH says, “The practice in government hospitals is to destroy records after 5-10 years as there is no space.”
On the other hand epidemiologist employed during epidemics are temporary appointments of the Directorate of Health, who collect data and report to the central Government . Experts are of the opinion that data needs to be collected at every stage and this should be made a compulsory act both at the central and provincial level.
Reporting of deaths stands on equally weak grounds. According to officials lack of space, funds and manpower are the reason behind this malaise.
On sharing of data by hospitals, a senior official of the DM & HO, Hyderabad said, “Three months back a memo was sent to the hospitals to share data as it is mandatory. Since then about 25 hospitals started sharing but then it has to be uniform and done consistently.” In spite of an Indian Epidemic Act that mandates the sharing of data, hospitals in the city fail to do so, he further added.
“There is a system of reporting with form P, L form and S form for presumptive diagnosis, lab data and syndrome surveillance that emanates from community medicine but there is no authentic data on scores of deaths that occur due to several diseases.
Hospitals do not feel the need to improve health indicators and until this attitude prevails, there is no hope,” said Dr Gopal Kishan.