President inaugurates 1,500-bed hospital
President Pratibha Patil on Sunday inaugurated in whats touted as Asias largest private multi-specialty hospital,with 1,500 beds,at Marol Maroshi in Andheri East on Sunday.
At the function which was attended by Governor K Sankaranarayanan,Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal,the President, lauding public-private partnership,said joint ventures between the government and private sector,along with help from voluntary organizations,was needed to cater to medical needs of the country. She stressed empowerment of citizens by providing quality healthcare.
Union Minister of State for Communication and Technology Gurudas Kamat,State Health Minister Suresh Shetty and Mayor Shraddha Jadav were also present.
Being the country with the second largest population,we can realise our demographic dividend only if we empower our citizens. This will be possible by dispensing education,building skills and providing medical facilities,so that productive and creative potential of the population is fully realised, she said at the event.
The President said this was especially true as figures since Independence had established that expanding healthcare in India was still a work-in-progress. We are yet to reach the goal of health for all. Access and affordability of healthcare for underprivileged and marginalized sections,in particular women and children,remain unaccomplished tasks, she said.
She highlighted the importance of tele-medicine for reaching medical facilities to rural areas. The President,quoting WHO figures on lifestyle diseases,cautioned people to take note of its prediction that India may be the diabetes capital of the world by 2020. She stressed holistic healthcare on treatment and disease prevention,adding that doctors should amalgamate different streams of medicine,including allopathy and traditional medicine.
Chief Minister Ashok Chavan said there was a huge gap between medical facilities needed in the state and healthcare available. He added that the government was keen on working with BMC and the private sector to cater to this need.
7th floor space for civic hospital patients incomplete
The Seven Hills Hospital in Andheri (East) is formally opening its doors to patients from Monday. But the wards meant for patients referred from BMC hospitals are far from ready. The hospital says a total of 300 beds in the general wards will be reserved for subsidised treatment of patients referred by BMC hospitals and public health outposts,at rates on par with civic hospitals. But the designated space for these patients,Level 8 on the 7th floor,bears an isolated,barren look,in contrast to the rest of the building.
Most of it is still under construction. The walls are yet to be plastered. A proper stairway connecting this floor to the rest of the building is absent. A single ward on the floor has been sealed and hospital authorities claim it will be the first to start operating.
But though the ward has been divided into cubicles,the ceiling is still to be put in place. Most slabs of the false ceiling are missing. No equipment or beds are in place. The sanitation procedure is still to start. Medical Superintendent of Seven Hills,Dr Deepa Kumar,said the progress would have been better had the hospital not been sealed for security purposes for the Presidents arrival,three days in advance.
She added that this single ward would be running in a few days.
The lack of a proper Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the BMC and the hospital,also seems to be contributing to the delay. Till a proper MOU is signed and the BMC appoints its Officer on Special Duty (OSD),we cannot start admitting BMC patients anyway, said Dr Hemlata Maganti,VP,Medical Services,of the hospital.
Mayor Shraddha Jadhav who was present at the hospitals inaugural function,confirmed that the last formal document granting the hospital a lease for land was signed in 2005. We have been trying to get an MOU in place for the last two months but the hospital has been avoiding the procedure. Now that the inauguration is done,I will send my team as early as next week to get the process started, she said.
Neither side could commit on when the MOU would be sealed. Dr Maganti,however denied that the hospital was responsible for the delay,We are ready to sign the MOU any time BMC wants, she said.
Details on the kind of treatment BMC patients can avail of are foggy. Dr Maganti says the hospital would try to encourage the BMC to send patients who need advanced tertiary care,not available in civic hospitals. The Mayor,however,said that according to the original agreement,BMC patients could be referred for any kind of treatment.