Dipak Rathod, 46, a resident of Gujarat Housing Board at Palanpur Patia in Surat, tested positive for Covid-19 on August 13 and went to SMIMER Hospital in Surat. On Saturday, he was referred to Hiba Hospital, a repurposed commercial centre in Adajan area that went out of business during the lockdown and reopened as a Covid care centre on July 25.
Since its opening, 26 patients have been discharged from the facility and 16 are under treatment.
Talking to The Indian Express, Rathod said, “I work in a private firm and I don’t know how I got infected. My wife and children are home quarantined. They have undergone rapid antigen test and tested negative. Doctors here told me that I’m recovering well and will be discharged very soon.”
Kader Shaikh, 63, a real estate developer who recovered from Covid-19 in June, got his commercial centre converted into an 85-bed Covid hospital to provide affordable treatment for those who could not pay for treatment in private hospitals, and handed it over to the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC).
Shaikh told The Indian Express, “My brother who was also infected with the virus was in a private hospital and I paid Rs 12 lakh for his treatment, a bill that shocked me. It made me think of converting this commercial complex into a treatment centre for Covid-19.”
He waived the rent for a couple of tenants who were told to vacate the premises. The hospital was set up in the 30,000-square feet space in Shreyam complex, where his office functions on the ground floor.
Shaikh named the hospital after his two-year-old granddaughter. The hospital with an ICU ward and oxygen facilities was handed over to Municipal Commissioner BN Pani, in the presence of state BJP president CR Paatil, a few days ago.
SMC has deployed 27 nurses, 3 BAMS doctors, 2 MBBS doctors and 2 MD doctors at the facility. Patients with moderate symptoms are being referred from SMC-run SMIMER hospital and New Civil Hospital to Hiba Hospital.
Anita Sindhwari (35), a resident of Honey Park road in Adajan area, is also one of the 16 patients at Hiba Hospital. Anita tested positive after her father-in-law, Mohan (60), and mother-in-law, Shilpa (58), tested positive. Mohan and his wife were earlier undergoing treatment at the SMIMER hospital and were shifted to Hiba hospital a few days ago. Anita also tested positive and was shifted from SMIMER Hospital to Hiba Hospital on Saturday.
Anita said, “Ours is a joint family. First my father-in-law got infected and then my mother-in-law; both were admitted at the hospital. SMC authorities came to our house and quarantined me along with my husband and our five-year-old son. Since last few days, I was having fever. And I tested positive in a rapid antigen test, while my husband and son tested negative.”
SMC deputy health commissioner Dr Ashish Naik said, “At present only patients with moderate symptoms are shifted to Hiba Hospital. We will further decide on shifting mildly critical patients after seeing the recovery rate. The ICU ward is empty at present.”
“I was doing business from here and now I will shift to some other place. This pandemic has affected the finances of every person,” said Shaikh adding that work has started on installing a patients’ lift in the hospital. The treatment costs will be borne by the SMC.
He added, “I am happy that patients here are getting free treatment, and will be happier when they recover and go home. I wanted to help people irrespective of their caste, creed and religion… it has been fulfilled. I have also told the medical professionals that if any poor patient requires medicines from outside, they can call me, and I will arrange medicines for them also.”