Working like a well-oiled but overburdened machine, fever clinics set up by the North Delhi Municipal Corporation at its two big hospitals see hundreds of suspected dengue patients each day free of charge.
The clinic at Bara Hindu Rao Hospital sees around 450 patients daily on an average, with people coming from all over Delhi and neighbouring States. Patients come in with symptoms of viral fever, consult a doctor at one table, move to the next where a blood sample is taken, and then finally collect medicines at the third table.
On Wednesday, the clinic overflowed with patients and relatives, while some others sat on the stairs outside and others milled about the corridors.
Sitting on a window ledge, East Delhi resident Sonu waited for the reports of a blood test. “I had come yesterday with fever, expecting to be admitted. But, I chose to go home as I was told that I would have to share a bed with two or three other patients,” she said.
Guddi, who had brought her daughter Sarita for consultation, said she didn’t know about the clinic. “We had to go around the hospital looking for the registration desk. Once we came to the clinic, things were smooth,” she said.
Sarita, a Class VIII student, said she had been running temperature for five days. “Though the doctor has given me medicines, I will have to wait two hours for the test results,” she said.
A doctor at the clinic said the patients were being tested for malaria and blood count. “We are not testing them for dengue. If the platelets are low, they are sent to emergency. Otherwise, we ask them to come back if the fever persists,” said the doctor.
At the clinic at Kasturba Hospital, which started functioning on July 29, consultations, testing and prescriptions are done on the spot. The doctor in charge here said the maternity hospital saw about 100 women and children every day with fever. “Though we have kept 75 beds for dengue patients, 12 have been occupied so far,” said the doctor.
By Wednesday afternoon, the fever clinic had seen 31 patients, including nine children, of which three were admitted. But since it is a maternity hospital, locals in the area don’t know about dengue patients being treated here. As a result, the rush here is less.
However, there are multiple patients sharing single beds in both hospitals. According to municipal officials, this is the case throughout the year considering the high number of patients.