In order to enhance treatment facilities for burn victims, 5,000 burn recovery beds will be added to the existing 750 in 640 districts across the country to prevent overcrowding in hospitals in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad.More than 50% of the burn victims who are treated in Delhi’s government hospitals every year are from other states. "If people do not come from outside Delhi, then we have adequate treatment facility for the city’s population. At RML we get about 1,000 hospitalisation cases every year, out of which more than 500 people come from other states," said Dr LK Makhija, head of department, burns, plastic and maxillofacial surgery, Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) Hospital.
Makhija is also a member of the core group working on the Union health ministry’s pilot pogramme for prevention, management and rehabilitation of burns victims.
Seven million people in the country suffer burn injuries every year, of which 7 lakh need hospitalisation, and 50% of the hospitalised succumb to their injuries. While government hospitals provide treatment for free, treatment for a 50% burn injury victim can run into lakhs in a private hospital.
Director-general health services, Dr RK Srivastava, heads the programme that will cover 600 district hospitals and nearly 200 medical colleges. All district hospitals will get a six-bedded burns ward to provide first-line of treatment to less serious cases, and for the victims of severe burns, each government medical college will get a 12-bedded ward, with four-bedded burns intensive care unit (ICU).
Three government hospitals — Safdarjung, RML and Lok Nayak — provide specialised treatment for burn victims in Delhi, and about 150 beds that they have cater to approximately 3,000 people, who require hospitalisation in a year.
The RML on Thursday inaugurated its upgraded burns ward with the state-of-art facility for burns management. These hospitals will also be training centres for 500 general surgeons in operating burn victims to be placed in the district hospitals.
“Sometimes, we get cases as old as two weeks that get aggravated with infection, for lack of basic treatment at the local level. This initiative will help save thousands,” said Dr Makhija.