Baby bitten by rats in Pakistani hospital horrifying: Daily

Last Updated: Fri, Nov 30, 2012 07:50 hrs

Islamabad, Nov 30 (IANS) The news of a day-old baby being bitten by rats in a Pakistani hospital is a "horrifying, extreme example" of the lack of hygiene in the country's health facilities, a leading daily said Friday.

Calling it "sheer luck" that saved the baby at the Holy Family hospital in Rawalpindi from serious harm, Dawn lamented that the official response to the "scary incident has been predictable".

An inquiry committee was formed and senior officials at the hospital were suspended.

The baby was just a day old when it was bitten on the lips, cheeks, nose and fingers in the hospital's gynaecology ward.

"Rodents and cats are said to be frequently spotted at the facility, yet it is not the only one in the country where animals and pests compromise the high sanitary standards that are expected at a hospital," the Dawn said.

With "extremely poor" hygiene being noticed at public hospitals in provincial capitals, "one can only imagine the state of rural health units", it said.

It said shortage of funds for maintenance has led to the unhygienic conditions.

Overcrowding, outsourcing sanitation duties to private contractors, poor payment and long hours for workers have also led to the filth in hospitals.

The daily suggested that sanitary staff must be motivated with higher salaries and better working conditions, and doctors and other medical staff must put up a collect6ive effort.

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