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As Delhi diverted resources to virus fight, hospital construction slowed

OPD visits show significant dip

New Delhi |
March 9, 2021 3:32:22 am
The health department, meanwhile, is on alert regarding the number of beds for Covid patients. While the number of active cases has doubled from around 1,000 a month ago to 2,020 on Thursday, only 598 beds out of 5,711 beds are currently occupied. (File)

Construction and remodeling work at several Delhi government hospitals was hit last year as labourers headed home amid the Covid-induced lockdown. Work at 11 government hospitals, remodeling of 94 Delhi government dispensaries and setting up of Aam Aadmi Mohalla Clinics (AAMC) was delayed as a result, stated the outcome budget report presented by Finance Minister Manish Sisodia on Monday.

The report shows that the education department was the top performer as 84% of the indicators were ‘on track’. The other top performing departments were health (80%), environment (79%), power (75%), PWD (73%).

“The Delhi government has ensured timely augmentation of hospital infrastructure by rapidly increasing Covid beds in response to the rising number of cases and to reduce mortality. The government ensured that 135 dedicated Covid hospitals, 15 quarantine/dedicated Covid care centres and six health centres with a strength of 18,718 beds, 8,273 beds, and 882 beds respectively were made available for people,” said Sisodia.

As cases of Covid began to soar, the Delhi government took several measures by converting general hospitals into Covid-only facilities, diverting staff towards management and treatment of the disease and increasing the number of testing facilities.

The average number of patients visiting OPDs, casualty and IPDs per month at hospitals went down drastically as all non-Covid services were put on hold. For instance, at Lok Nayak Hospital, 1,209 people visited the OPD till December 2020 while the target for 2020-2021 was 1,60,000.

Though most ground-level workers like ASHAs and ANMs were put on Covid duty, the state welfare department managed to cope with ongoing immunisation programmes. As per the report, until December, 2,15,056 children were immunised with typhoid vaccine under the special immunisation programme aimed at reducing the mortality rate under five years. The target for 2020-2021 is 2,96,190.

The number of institutional deliveries facilitated through ASHA workers took a slight hit. As per data shared by the Delhi government, 1,19,983 institutional deliveries were recorded till December 2020 against the target of 2,25,000 for 2020-2021.

“We are now trying to complete all activities that were left behind last year. While several targets have been missed, this is the first time the world witnessed a situation like this. Such things are bound to happen,” said a senior state health department official.

At present, 491 mohalla clinics are functioning in Delhi against the target of 1,000. A total of 1,12,000 patients were treated at these clinics till December 2020, though the target was to serve 2,00,000 patients.

Per capita expenditure on medical and public health increased to Rs 3,029 in 2019-20 from Rs 1,573 in 2012-13, said the economic survey report.

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