A Long-'Standing' Issue: Services at the Dispensary

A Long-'Standing' Issue: Services at the Dispensary

Anonymous | Apr 08, 2019

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For the authorities of NITR, the health and well-being of all inmates of this huge site is definitely a top priority. This should be an uncontested fact, considering that not just students but the faculty and their extended family can also fall prey to illnesses. This means that all authorities of NITR are susceptible to becoming diseased, but what is keeping this machine running is the priority given to the problem. However, in my humble opinion, the results don’t seem to agree.

Whenever students go to the dispensary, there seem to be winding lines longer than the ones present at the Academic Registrar’s office. That comparison should give you an idea of the gravity of the situation. As the lines keep growing longer, it also becomes difficult for tempers not to flare. People can be seen to be frustrated as they are questioning why they are standing in the line for so long when they are missing classes, or otherwise not utilizing the free time they are getting for actions of productivity. Some students would prefer to simply go and sit in a classroom, because that way they will at least have the guarantee of getting attendance. And when faculty members join the line, the situation becomes messier. As per the on-paper dispensary rules, students and faculty should maintain separate lines and one person from each line can see the doctor alternatively. But what happens when both faculty and students are in a hurry is nothing but a projection of power.

Imagine what this chaos outside the room might be feeling like for the doctors inside. They are being unnecessarily put through extra pressure to not just diagnose the problem correctly, but also very quickly. This WILL lead to mistakes of either wrong diagnosis, or cases of improper diagnosis of the severity of the condition because time cannot realistically be allotted to each patient.

Let us now consider two extreme cases about the type of students who might be in this line: The severely ill and those who actually have no real illness. With regards to the severely ill, I saw a live example right in front of my eyes when my friend who had been misdiagnosed to be having just a fever went back and stood in line for 20 minutes one day later. He was diagnosed with measles, a contagious disease. This put to risk everyone in the line along with him. He was the ticking time bomb. Now let’s think about those who come to dispensary without any real issue. They may either be having minor issues with the potential to become something worse, or they may be coming purely to try and fool doctors into giving them medical leaves. In the first case, as the person is not having major symptoms right now, seeing the line, he will simply start walking back because he knows that he will not be getting leave for missing the classes. And in the second case, the dispensary doctors have proven themselves to be hard nuts to crack with regards to grant of leaves, thus showing their experience and wisdom.

But, why are there such long lines in the dispensary in the first place? Is the institute not a healthy place? It definitely is, considering all the greenery in the campus and the flora and fauna which inhabit every inch of the campus, including bugs, dogs and others. Are students not eating well? This is again false, because the hall messes supply nutritious food with fresh potatoes and flatbread. Are students eating harmful outside food? This might be true, considering the delivery of outside food and the canteens in the campus. But this could hardly be the main reason, due to the simple point that these canteens have been checked by the institute for quality, as is evident by the universalized pricing. Is this just a general trend? This most probably is true. In the end, with over five thousand inmates, at least 5-50 of them will have to have some medical issues every day. What becomes the issue is that while the dispensary is open for five and half hours daily (excluding holidays), most people only seem to want to rush to it during particularly times in the day when they are free, which doesn’t seem to make sense! This is definitely one of the major reasons.

The WHO has prescribed a minimum of 1 doctor per 1000 citizens in a country. In India, this ratio is very poor. NITR, as a leading institute in the nation, should strive to improve this ratio within its own campus. Not to mention, health and well-being also extends to the counsellors. While the institute counsellor and psychiatrist are amazing professionals, due to the constraints of time, they are only able to cater to about 4 students each per week. This is causing students to opt to not take their help as it feels like a hassle. The SCP cannot be blamed for this, because they may simply lack the funds needed to keep the professionals longer. But what can definitely be said is that help shouldn’t be rationed. Whether it is a genuine case or not can only be decided by the professionals at their own pace. While our institute is definitely government owned, we must strive to try and prevent our health facilities from succumbing to the stereotypes of government hospitals. In the end, the health of the inmates will decide who the future inmates will be. In the end, illness doesn’t choose anyone. It discriminates people the same way that the system discriminates people.

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