American magazine Newsweek did not mention this when it listed Ghaziabad as one of the world’s “hottest” — read fastest growing — cities in 2006.
Ghaziabad is sick.
The city’s residential high-rises and industrial towers may soar tall, but its healthcare is on broken knees.
For a population of 15 lakh, spread out over areas as far-flung as Hapur and Muradnagar, the district has only one good super-speciality hospital: Pushpanjali Crosslay.
That too is located in residential colony Vaishali, right at the Capital’s edge, 20 kilometres away from the older parts of the city.
Big private brands like Max and Fortis have steered clear of the UP town.
“There is no super-speciality hospital on NH-24 (the highway leading to Uttarakhand) for almost 300 kilometres,” says Dr Vinay Aggarwal, chairman and managing director, Pushpanjali Crosslay Hospital. “People either come here or go to hospitals in Noida.”
Ghaziabad district has one run-down and smelly government hospital with 100 beds, which looks more like a stable or a barn .
Here, barring the emergency department, all sections shut shop at noon. Among private hospitals of any note, there is the two-decade-old Yashoda Hospital.
While successive UP CMs may have shown interest in building the health infrastructure of Noida, adjoining Ghaziabad, the much older industrial township, has not got similar attention.
Making the most of this deficit in affordable healthcare, the costs of surgeries and other treatments at Pushpanjali are at par with big-brand hospitals in Delhi and much higher than in NCR counterparts like Alchemist in Gurgaon.
For example, a bypass in Pushpanjali would cost Rs. 1.65 to Rs. 2. 25 lakh, but Alchemist in Gurgaon charges Rs 85,000 for it.
“We offer better value for money,” says Dr Agarwal, who does not agree that the treatment costs at his facility are high. “We also have a special programme for senior citizens where we offer a 20 per cent discount.”
But the super-specialty hospital at least offers Ghaziabad residents — who had to routinely travel to Delhi or Noida for advanced healthcare — a superior option. Opened in mid-2009, the hospital has many firsts to its credit.
It has a pneumatic tube for transferring medicines, blood samples and drugs from one station to another.
“Some hospitals in Delhi have it but none in UP so far. This is not just in keeping with the international health practices but also helps in reducing human errors,” said Dr. Vijay Aggarwal, executive director.