Spread over 25,000 square feet and planned to cater to 1,500 patients annually, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) state-of-the-art thalassemia centre in Borivli is yet to hire the staff and medical equipment required for its functioning.
And for a facility that is supposed to provide blood transfusions, the centre does not have a blood bank and will be dependent on Lokmanya Tilak Municipal General Hospital in Sion and JJ Hospital in Byculla for blood components.
Though the deadline for its opening is February-March 2017, the Rs4.78 crore facility is unlikely to receive patients who have will have to continue visiting municipal hospitals for blood transfusion and treatment.
Thalassemia is a genetic blood disorder that restricts the production of haemoglobin the in the body. Thus, depending on severity of the disease, patients suffering from low red blood cell count need to get blood transfusions on a regular basis. There are about 1,000 children in western suburbs suffering from thalassemia major or minor.
Officials from Sion Hospital, which is handling the project, while responding to an application under Right to Information Act, said that the project was sanctioned on July 2, 2015 and the building has been ready since seven years. The facility’s two wards, a 21-bed day care center and an eight-bed bone marrow transplant unit are expected to help poor patients who have to go to the Sion, B Y L Nair and KEM hospitals — all in the city — for treatment because of lack of facilities in suburban Mumbai.
RTI campaigner Chetan Kothari, who filed the application, said that the major issue with the centre is absence of a blood bank or a storage center. “When the centre goes functional, if the 21 beds are operational six days a week, it will need abround 6,552 units of blood every year. That is about 20% of the blood stock of Sion and JJ Mahanagar Blood banks each. It’s an extremely ill planned project,” said Kothari.
He added that both the blood banks, being located at Sion and Byculla which is on the other end of the city, might create transportation problems. “For every new patient, the centre will have to send the samples to Sion or JJ Hospital for cross matching, after which the transfusion can start which takes about three to four hours. The delay can create hassles for the patient,” added a pathologist attached to one of the BMC hospitals.
However, officials attached to the project said that they have already applied for a blood storage center and the hiring process is underway. “We have already applied for the blood storage facility so that there is enough stock at the centre,” said Vinay Shetty from NGO Think Foundation which is responsible for the coordination of the patients at the centre.