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Improve rural infrastructure, Maharashtra CM tells health dept in meeting on third wave preparedness

Uddhav Thackeray has asked districts to convert temporary jumbo centres into permanent structures, construct new rural centres and earmark CSR (corporate-social responsibility) funds to boost health infrastructure.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
June 22, 2021 12:21:13 am
Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray

In a meeting to review preparedness for a possible third Covid-19 wave, Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on Monday asked the health department to improve rural health infrastructure which is expected to be hit hard if another surge comes.

Thackeray has asked districts to convert temporary jumbo centres into permanent structures, construct new rural centres and earmark CSR (corporate-social responsibility) funds to boost health infrastructure.

“A plan should be drawn up on which facilities can be maintained permanently in the future and which ones can be upgraded,” the CM said during the meeting, adding that the Public Works Department (PWD) must prepare a timeline for upgrading rural infrastructure.

Thackeray asked state officials to increase production of oxygen to 3,000 MT from 1,200 MT (per day). Maharashtra should be self-sufficient in oxygen when the third wave comes, the CM said.

He set a deadline for July-end to commission all pressure swing adsorption (PSA) plants and oxygen tankers required for treatment.

Officials who were part of the meeting said the CM has raised concerns over tribal areas like Melghat, Jawahar and Mokhada where health facilities are limited. He directed the health department to draw up the number of beds, medicines and medical staff required in these districts if third wave hits.

During the meeting, health minister Rajesh Tope asked for allocation of at least 5 percent of gross revenue generated by the state for health facilities, appointment of more medical staff, and for new construction. Tope said currently the allocation is 0.9-1 per cent of gross revenue. He also sought approval for setting up more primary health centers and sub-centers. “We are also setting up a state dashboard. It will give us all information on oxygen, bed occupancy, medicines for each district and hospitals. We will ensure real-time data is provided by hospitals. This dashboard will be helpful in monitoring deficiency in the health system and identify where more resources are required,” Tope said.

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