Mumbai News

As Covid-19 care centres gradually close, Mumbai’s civic body to transfer medical equipment – Hindustan Times

As the Covid-19 pandemic curve continues to flatten in Mumbai, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is shutting down several Covid Care Centre (CCC) facilities. Medical equipment from these centres will be transferred to civic-run peripheral, maternity hospitals and health posts to plug shortages of devices.

When Covid-19 pandemic broke out in Mumbai in March, the BMC started CCC facilities in all civic wards to quarantine high-risk contacts and asymptomatic patients. In June, however, when the curve started plateauing in Mumbai, the BMC was conducting around 4,500 reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests every day, and an average 1,100 new Covid-19 cases were reported.

With the inclusion of the rapid antigen test, the daily average testing has gone over 7,000 per day, with the civic body conducting more than 10,000 tests on some days. Despite the increase in testing, the number of daily Covid-19 cases has stayed below 1,000 in the city. The positivity rate has come down from 22 percent in July to 19.51 percent in August.

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With the number of Covid-19 cases reducing in Mumbai slums, almost 70 percent CCCs are lying unused. The civic body has therefore gradually started handing over rented lodges, schools, auditoriums, hotels to its owners where these centres were created. Medical equipment like oximeters, glucometer, oxygen cylinders, blood pressure monitors, beds among others from the facilities will be used in the secondary health care facilities.

“Annually, peripheral hospitals, dispensaries and health posts have their own demand for medical devices. So, the equipment will be sent to these facilities for future usage,” said Suresh Kakani, additional commissioner.

“At present, we aren’t handing over all the equipment. We have to remain prepared in case Mumbai is hit with the second wave of Covid-19 infection.”

The BMC has 16 peripheral hospitals, 175 municipal dispensaries, 29 maternity homes with over 200 health posts all across the city.

The civic body has spent around Rs 850 crore in the ongoing pandemic including salaries, equipment and construction of CCCs.

Nearly Rs 130 crore has been spent on buying essential machines. “Most equipment is being donated by philanthropists which will be used at the secondary health care facilities along with the purchased ones. While the rented ones will be handed over to their owners,” said Kakani.

At present, Mumbai has 332 CCC-1 facilities for high-risk contacts with over 48,000-bed capacity. There are a total of 173 CCC-2 facilities for positive asymptomatic patients with over 23,000 beds.

Health activists have welcomed the civic body’s decision. Pradeep Patil, a local RTI activist from Bandra who is associated with non-government organisation Jan Kalyan said, “Even though health posts and peripheral hospitals form the backbone of the healthcare system in Mumbai, they lack basic amenities. It will be a great boost for medical infrastructure if the BMC can also shift all additional equipment, like ventilators and x-ray machines, for Covid-19 patients to these centres once the pandemic gets over.”