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Thursday, May 13, 2021

Mumbai’s third wave plans: child Covid facility, crèches

The decision to set up the paediatric ward has been taken in the light of expert warnings that the third wave, likely to strike in July, may affect children harder than the first two waves.

Written by Laxman Singh | Mumbai |
Updated: May 4, 2021 7:34:59 am
People outside a closed Covid-19 vaccination centre in Pune on Monday. (Express photo by Pavan Khengre)

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is planning to set up a paediatric Covid care facility in the city, besides a crèche network for children whose parents are admitted in various care centres for Covid-19 treatment.

The decision to set up the paediatric ward has been taken in the light of expert warnings that the third wave, likely to strike in July, may affect children harder than the first two waves.

According to BMC officials, a dedicated paediatric Covid ward for children below 12 years will come up, likely in the next two months, at NESCO Jumbo Covid Centre in Goregaon East, on the city’s western suburbs. The facility will have about 700 beds, of which 300 will be for paediatric care, it is learnt. It will also include a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) with a capacity of 25 beds each.

Besides, 300 beds will be arranged in the paediatric ward and 50 in NICU and PICU for mothers whose children are being treated at the facility.

Officials said this is likely to be India’s first dedicated paediatric Covid-19 facility.

The decision was taken on Monday, after state guardian minister Aaditya Thackeray met additional municipal commissioner Sanjeev Jaiswal along with other BMC officials to discuss preparation of new facilities ahead of the anticipated third wave. The BMC will consult with leading pediatricians before setting up the facilities, officials said.

Jaiswal, who is supervising the bed-enhancement work, told The Indian Express, “In the first wave, adults were the most infected. In the second wave, there was a slight change in virus behaviour — young adults and some children were infected, though the intensity was less. This was a new development or trend which came to our notice. Anticipating the challenge in the third wave, we are going to set up a first-of-its-kind dedicated paediatric facility. It is expected to be ready by July.”

He said, “Soon, we will have a meeting with leading paediatricians and members of the state Covid task force to take their suggestions on this facility.”

Last week, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had instructed state officials to prepare paediatric wards emphasising that the third wave is likely to infect more children. The BMC data from February to April has also shown that Covid infection was high among young adults and children in the second wave compared to the first wave.

The BMC is also planning to set up a crèche network for single mothers or working couples who are infected and need someone to look after their children. “In Mumbai, there are a lot of working couples. These crèches will be run by NGOs. We are yet to finalise the place (to set up the facility),” said Jaiswal.

The BMC is also in the process of increasing its Covid bed capacity by setting up new jumbo dedicated facilities at Malad, Kanjurmarg, Sion and Mahalaxmi Race Course. They will together add 6,000 beds and 1,500 ICU beds to the existing number. Currently, there are about seven jumbo Covid care facilities in Mumbai.

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