The old OT room in NHAK being dismantled for the construction of Accident and Trauma Center. (Morung Photo)
Atono Tsükrü Kense
Kohima | April 21
After years of delay, works for construction of level-II Accident and Trauma Centre at Naga Hospital Authority Kohima (NHAK) has begun.
The Rs 6.0750 crore project is being taken up with 100% financial assistance by the central government covering expenses on civil works, manpower, equipment, communication and legal services and data entry.
Due to acute space constraints with no prospect of taking up any developmental works inside the NHAK, a new structure for trauma center is being taken up by totally dismantling the Operation Theatre (OT) and its adjoining rooms in the old structure constructed during the British era.
Five districts in Nagaland namely Tuensang, Kiphire, Mon, Dimapur and Kohima were approved by the Government of India to set up trauma centers (level-II and III) during the 12th Five Year Plan (FYP) (2012-17).
The projects across the country have been taken up under the project scheme called ‘Assistance for Capacity Building for Developing Trauma Care Facilities’ in government hospitals on National Highways to bring down preventable deaths due to road accidents
As per the National Injury Surveillance; Trauma Registry & Capacity building center (NISC) under whose initiation the programme is being taken up, the scheme has been extended up to March, 2020 for continuing financial support on reimbursement basis to already approved Trauma Care Facilities (TCFs) as per the norms of the scheme.
While level-III trauma centers in other districts have been completed as informed by health officials, works for level –II trauma center at NHAK could not begin earlier due to “certain problems and constraints.”
As per the norms for TCFs, the district/tehsil hospitals with a bed capacity of 100 to 200 beds have been selected for level III care where initial evaluation and stabilization (surgically if appropriate) will be provided to the trauma patient. Whereas, a college hospital or hospitals with bed strength of 300 to 500 has been identified as level II Trauma Center to provide definitive care for severe trauma victims.
Land ownership issue
Speaking to The Morung Express, a senior official from the Directorate of Health & Family Welfare cited ‘land ownership issue’ as the reason for the project’s delay and said “this has been the talk over the few years because of the controversy arising due to the handing over of the present new OPD complex.”
With space constraints affecting construction of another building in the Hospital area, the option was to dismantle the OT in the old building to make rooms for the trauma center.
In the meantime, he said, the land owners issue cropped up again. They reportedly claimed that they were not paid full land compensation and the amount paid earlier was ‘too less’.
“We have had a series of negotiations. The actual land owner took the contract of the new OPD complex and could not complete it on time. I do not know for what reason but it was over delayed,” said the official.
He maintained that unless the new OPD complex was completed, neither the NHAK administration could shift nor the works for the trauma center could start.
While the department was yet to solve the issue with the land owners, another problem cropped up with the North East Council (NEC) decision to close down the project with years of delay in taking up the works of trauma center.
“But because of our persistent request to reconsider their stand, finally, it was agreed that the project will continue,” the official disclosed. “Some may blame the department, but it was the contractor who has unduly took all these things in his own control, and that is how things were delayed,” he further stated.
Initially, the plan of the department was to renovate and repair the OT and some rooms in the old complex for the trauma center, for which works had started, inviting criticisms of poor planning and workmanship.
However, with the instability of the old complex, the plan was changed to dismantle and come up with a new structure in the same place.
“Everybody wants something very attractive and nice, but to completely come with a new building there is space constraints besides the financial constraints,” said the official.
A senior officer from the department’s engineering wing said funds for NHAK trauma center was sanctioned in 2017 amounting to Rs 6.0750 cr. but works could not begin due to various problems.
With limited resources, it is not possible to construct a completely new building as the funds sanctioned are for various expenses like purchase of equipment, civil works, man power etc.
“Rs 1.20 cr has been earmarked for the civil works” and the rest for other expenses, the official said. “Without knowing the underlying problems, people may blame us but we are giving and doing our best efforts as we have a mega project (Medical college) being undertaken in our State” the official commented.
MCI criteria for Medical College
It was also informed that the department is working towards fulfilling the criteria set by the Medical Council of India (MCI) for a medical college, with 30-beds capacity in the trauma center.
“As per the MCI rule for a medical college, we are supposed to arrange 30 beds in the trauma center. Although, trauma center requirement may not be as much, we are going forward with whatever funds have been sanctioned for the purpose of fulfilling the criteria to be recognised for a medical college. We need to create 30 beds with minor OT and other rooms, which are all earmarked accordingly,” the official informed.
He also informed that the first inspection is due on June or July, and the department is giving its best efforts to at least make some good progress by the time the MCI team comes for inspection.
The works for the trauma center is being supervised by the Medical engineering wing along with IQVIA, a Delhi based consultancy firm, the official informed. Meanwhile, the contractor of the new OPD complex has reportedly assured completion of works in 15-20 days time, with the final finishing ongoing.
When queried about the landowners’ issue, he said after several pleas and request, the parties came to ‘some sort of concurrence’ for works to go ahead for the sake of the Medical College project in the State.