Al Nahdha closed! – It’s time for concrete action

MUSCAT: Al Nahdha Hospital, one of the leading government hospitals catering to people of Muscat Governorate and Greater Muttrah, in Hamriya will remain closed for the next few days until further notice in view of the inclement weather, sources at the Ministry of Health (MoH), said.

The patients who are currently undergoing treatment, including post-surgery patients, have been shifted to Royal Hospital and Khoula Hospital. As many as 12 adults and three children were shifted to Royal Hospital, while four patients were transferred to Khoula Hospital.

“Due to the expected severe changes in the weather next two to three days, it was decided to close the hospital starting from Wednesday afternoon till further notice. Medical Staff will be distributed to Khoula and Royal hospitals,” a statement from the MoH notified.

In case of emergencies, the MoH has requested citizens to contact Khoula and Royal hospitals. Accordingly, all emergency OMFS, ENT and eye cases will be referred to Khoula Hospital while all above urgent cases to be attended by on-duty doctors at Khoula Hospital. All medical and pediatricians would provide their services at Royal Hospital. A and E adult services will be distributed between Khoula and Royal hospitals. Surgeries booked for tomorrow remain cancelled, and to be rescheduled to nearest Friday. The OP clinic departments have been cancelled and the staff have been informed about the resumption of operations on Friday.

It further said that the emergency department doctors should follow the current rota but to be ready to perform their duty at other location as per the list distributed starting from afternoon shift on March 11. The statement further warns doctors and other paramedical staff to not to take photos of the hospital or the evacuation procedures and to share with their friends at any point of time, failing which they may have to face legal consequences.

There have been several rounds of talks at various levels about shifting the hospital which received hundreds of patients every day to another safer location as the current location is a low-lying area and is vulnerable to flashfloods from time to time.

The hospital which has been serving the community for more than four decades has been a point of attention whenever there is a rain warning or an unprecedented downpour that make their operations awry and out of gear. Patients have been either airlifted or evacuated on emergency basis to nearer hospitals whenever there is an inundation.

It has been said that rapid urbanisation around the Ruwi and Hamriya area is the root cause of flooding. The hospital that had not been affected during the 2007 Gonu and 2012 Phet, is bearing the brunt of nature from time to time.

Most of the residents in Muscat and nearest wilayats rejected the idea of shifting Al Nahdha Hospital to another location as the hospital is there for many decades and was not affected by rains, except in the past five years.

“I really wonder why the hospital is targeted by the flashfloods whenever there is rain and water deluge”, Mohammed al Shaqsi, a resident of Hamriya asked. “I believe that the sudden population rise in this area and lack of proper drainage system are the root causes of the same and we need to look in to the matter very seriously and find solutions,” he added.

Majlis Ash’shura has been looking into reasons why Al Nahdha Hospital was not affected by rains even during some of the worst natural disasters for many decades in the past. Even during Gonu the damage was not much as compared with the situation in 2012 and 2014.

It is said that the location of the hospital is not the reason why it was affected by flood waters, it is because of the ongoing projects including wastewater and the bridge surrounding the hospital. Experts say that the major problem is the companies working on the wastewater and the bridge projects failed to leave a proper outlet for the rain water.

“Al Hamriya and Al Nahdha Hospital are there for many years, but there are several problems. The major issue is rapid urbanisation and the Ministry of Housing and Muscat Municipality distributed lands and allowed building of houses on the streams leading to the valley,” Qais al Mashari, Municipality Council member representing the Wilayat of Muscat, said, adding, “Some people who bought 150 square metres plot got extension to more than 300 square metres”.

After the recent rains and subsequent flooding and evacuation a committee was appointed to study the causes and suggest solutions. The committee headed by Ahmed al Wahaibi suggested some ways to alleviate the inconvenience of the residents as well as the patients in the hospital.

SOURCE: OMAN DAILY OBSERVER

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