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Sunday, June 13, 2021

How Raju Shetti’s farmers’ union set up a Covid care centre to fight pandemic

The centre is operated from the hostel building of Jaysinghpur College. It has four specialised doctors along with eight other doctors and six nursing staff.

Written by Partha Sarathi Biswas | Pune |
Updated: June 2, 2021 11:15:26 pm
The centre has tied up with 14 medical shops in the area that supply medicines at concessionary rates.

Farmer leader and former MP Raju Shetti’s decision to start a 100-bed Covid Care Centre in Jaysinghpur in Kolhapur district was a result of his experience in the pandemic and the suffering he saw around him.

“Since the start of the second wave, we have been helping patients get beds. But as the infection progressed, getting oxygen beds was almost an impossibility as all government and private medical facilities in Sangli and Kolhapur were full. Unfortunately…deaths occurred due to unavailability of such beds. Our decision to start the Shivar Covid Care Centre lies in our experiences,” said Shetti.

In the second wave, the infection has spread to the most remote parts of rural Maharashtra. As cases started rising in areas that were untouched in the first wave, a scramble started for beds, oxygen and basic medical facilities, putting stress on the healthcare infrastructure.

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Shetti and his organisation, Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghtana, then decided to set up a Covid Care center at Jaysinghpur. The centre started with 50 beds which were filled out within a few hours. The centre then increased its capacity to to accommodate 50 isolation beds and 50 oxygen beds. Like most other programmes of the farmers’ organisation, this centre is also run through voluntary donation from people. People, Shetti said, had willingly helped in donating for the centre.

The centre is operated from the hostel building of Jaysinghpur College. It has four specialised doctors along with eight other doctors and six nursing staff. Volunteers of the organisation staff the centre for administrative work round-the-clock.

Shetty said treatment at the centre is provided at reasonable rates with patients having to pay almost half the amount they would pay for medicines elsewhere. The centre has tied up with 14 medical shops in the area who supply medicines at concessionary rates. Many farmers in the area donate fruits for patients. The centre waives all fees for patients who can’t afford it.

Unlike Pune, the second wave shows no sign of abating around the centre, which is daily seeing admission of patients.

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