Teachers at the Government Medical College Hospital, Kalamassery, have temporarily withdrawn their strike for two weeks after a State-level meeting with the Health Minister. They declared a strike over two weeks ago, demanding payment of arrears and allowances after salary revision, and classes had been suspended from January 29 onwards at government medical colleges across the State. Now that the strike has been withdrawn, classes will resume and additional hours will be taken to make up for lost time.
Examinations for final-year students is scheduled for April, which is worrying since the strike hit academics, and gynaecology and paediatric departments are still not open for inpatient services, said Abdul Zalam M.K., president of the Parent-Teacher Association of the medical college and parent of a final-year student.
Inpatient medical services have resumed at the hospital from February 4 onwards, said Dr. Peter Vazhayil, Superintendent of the hospital. “But paediatric and gynaecology departments cannot be opened up for inpatient facilities till the Aluva District Hospital starts functioning. The MCH is the only hospital where a C-section can be done on a COVID positive patient. Other surgeries for COVID patients are also still being done at the hospital,” he said. Outpatient services at the hospital are available from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Work on the 100-bed facility at the Aluva District Hospital will be completed by February 15, said Dr. Mathews Numpeli, district programme manager, National Health Mission. It is likely to be fully operational about a week after work is complete. The hospital will have gynaecology and pediatric departments for COVID positive pregnant women and children.
Since the hospital only began inpatient services recently, there are very few patients for the nearly hundred final-year students to learn, said a final year student who asked not to be identified. “We are now getting only around a month of clinical exposure, before the study leave for the exams,” the student said.
It would take a while for patients to overcome their hesitation to return to a facility that has been running exclusively as a COVID care centre, Dr. Vazhayil said.
The space crunch at the medical college makes it difficult to resume all non-COVID services and run critical care services for COVID simultaneously, said Dr. V. Satheesh, Principal.