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Caregivers shun the first rehabilitation ward in South Tamil Nadu

Chennai, Sept 21 (2021)

The first rehabilitation ward of South Tamil Nadu at the Government Rajaji Hospital (GRH) in Madurai for the destitute, opened in December 2020 is now deserted as no caregivers are present to take care of the abandoned. This is the second such centre in the state after the one in Chennai government general hospital.

The dedicated rehabilitation ward was set up the GRH in December 2020 after the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) issued a notice to the Director of Medical Education (DME) following an injured person from Godhra in Gujarat was shunned by the GRH staff due to lack of caregivers and support staff.

The 12 bedded rehabilitation ward was established at the GRH hospital and was inaugurated on December 31, 2020. The ward catered to patients abandoned by families and those who do not have caretakers.

After the patients recovered fully, they were either shifted to the shelter homes or be taken care of by their families. Madurai-based ‘Idhayam Trust’ was manning the rehabilitation ward with a staff nurse and a cleanliness worker of GRH was posted in the ward to aid the NGO.

The social workers of the NGO were taking care of the ward and the patients but following a criminal case of illegal adoption of a child, Idhayam Trust was sealed by the court, and it’s Executive Director, Shivakumar was arrested and jailed.

Now the ward is reopened at the Trauma Care Unit of the GRH hospital but without caregivers, the ward is not properly functioning and an appeal by the District Social Welfare Board for NGOs and health caregivers to take up assignments at the GRH rehabilitation ward was not received well.

Murugesh Raman, a social worker at Madurai while speaking to BPNS said, “NGOs are not ready to take this up as it is a dedicated work and most of the NGOs here are not in good times with funds drained up and hence most of them have not accepted the request from District social welfare board.”

A senior doctor of the hospital while speaking to BPNS said, “ Nurses and cleanliness workers are on duty in this ward now but what is lacking is a dedicated group of social workers. Hope some NGO will come forward to help these people recover and are then connected to their families.”

The district administration however said that the issue would be resolved in a week’s time.