Nurses acting as dieticians for six years at MKCG

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Berhampur: In the absence of a dietician in Maharaja Krishna Chandra Gajapati Medical College & Hospital (MKCG) here, the dietary ward of the hospital has remained paralysed for six years.

With little chances of appointment of a dietician anytime soon, the ward is allegedly being manned by two staff nurses.

The National Rural Health Mission envisages separate dietary department for patients of the three medical colleges and hospitals in the state including MKCG. Patients from southern Odisha and the neighbouring Andhra Pradesh depend upon the MKCG hospital on a regular basis.

The state government has been spending crores of rupees towards basic healthcare facilities to the people through the facility. A major part of the spending goes to the payment of salaries of its doctors. However, no dietician has been appointed in the hospital, though a dietician plays an equal role in curing a patient as the doctor.

Free medicines and free food are provided to the patients under NIRAMAYA yojana. To add to the patients’ woes, same diet is provided to general as well as cancer patients, in the absence of a dietician.

It is important for a patient to use a particular diet for a specific disease. A dietician should oversee inclusion of nutrition in the food prepared at the hospital’s kitchen; monitor and optimize nutrition status based on the patient’s medical condition.

They consult with physicians and healthcare professionals to coordinate medical and nutritional needs and recommend dietary supplements for patients. They also teach patients how to make nutritionally sound food choices to speed up recovery process.

The post of dietician has remained vacant in MKCG since 2013 and this has raised many questions on the responsibility of the Health department authorities. The food provided to patients here raises questions about the value of nutrition in the patients’ diet.

On a daily basis, dry and cooked food is served to 1200 patients in the hospital. The dietary department is responsible for the foods provided to the patients.

As the staff nurses are unable to supervise the diet for every patient, the work has been outsourced to a private firm that prepares and distributes food. There is no specific kitchen in the medical college and hospital so the private outfit brings food after preparing it outside the hospital.

A hospital report said, dry foods are served at breakfast – milk and bread. The common menu for lunch and dinner include rice, dal and curry.

The authorities sanction Rs 60 per meal for tuberculosis and cancer patients and Rs 50 for other patients. There is no one to monitor the quality of food, let alone a dietician, supplied by a private firm.

Although the hospital authorities have written to the higher-ups several times to fill up the post of dietician, but in vain.

Meanwhile, a local human rights outfit, Manaba Adhikar Surakshya Manch, has demanded that the dietician’s post be filled up at the earliest.

PNN

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