The alarming rise in multi-drug resistant and extensively-drug resistant tuberculosis (TB) cases among staffers in the civic-run Sewri TB Hospital has motivated the civic body to pursue a different route this year to curb the infection spread. According to the budget presented on Wednesday for 2015-2016, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will now outsource another company to take charge of cleanliness in the hospital premises. Additionally, for the first time, 11 beds for intensive respiratory care unit (IRCU) will be commissioned in the hospital. Till now, critical TB patients had no ventilator support in the hospital.
BMC’s aggressive stand against the disease in the 1,200-bedded hospital comes after the administration realised that no class III or class IV employee was ready to work in the premises fearing infection risk. “We have close to 50 per cent vacant posts,” admitted Dr Rajendra Nanavare, medical superintendent at the hospital.
This year’s budget earmarks Rs 13 crore for maintenance and monitoring of the old hospital building and the newly established Baharurji block where 200 MDR-TB patients are housed.
The hospital has been in news with reports of staffers and nurses contracting TB infection from patients. With acute shortage, the existing staff had been over-burdened with maintaining cleanliness which exposes them to greater infection risk. “With outsourcing, we will be assured of lowering the prevalence of the disease,” Nanavare added.
BMC, in its budget, also allocated a provision of Rs 1 crore for 11 IRCU beds. According to sources, in the absence of IRCU at Sewri TB hospital, critical patients could not be provided ventilator support in any other civic-run hospital due to fear of infection spread. An official said, “Major civic-run hospitals like KEM, Sion and Nair have open wards. TB patients could not be admitted as their infection might spread to other critical patients.”
The 11 beds will now exclusively cater to TB patients, who were otherwise facing life threat due to non-ventilator support.
Meanwhile, the budget estimate this year (Rs 2,561.24 crore) saw a 17 per cent rise as opposed to last year although no new major announcements were made. The civic body fared poorly as far as capital expenditure is concerned. From a budget estimate of Rs 733.62 crore in 2014-2015, the revised budget for the same fiscal dropped by 50 per cent to Rs 365.89 crore.
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