Additional Municipal Commissioner(Health) Manisha Mhaiskar told Hindustan Times that public-private partnerships are the way ahead for civic hospitals in Mumbai. She added that the civic body hopes to include geriatric care in its health portfolio soon.
Mumbai’s public health facilities, built between 1950 and 1980 to cater to a population of 52 to 72 lakh, are now catering to 14 million people. Do you plan to set up more hospitals?
There is a need for more hospitals, but we don’t have adequate funds. We are looking at public-private partnerships to build more hospitals.
Hasn’t the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) burnt its fingers with the Seven Hills public-private partnership?
We learnt our lesson from the experience of setting up Seven Hills and BSES Hospital with the Brahmakumaris in Andheri. We are now better informed and equipped to frame a policy for such partnerships. Next time, we will ensure our agreement is watertight.
Considering the shortage of space, how will the BMC make better use of existing infrastructure?
The future of healthcare in Mumbai lies in making optimum use of existing infrastructure. For instance, we plan to link Sion Hospital to the maternity home at Raoli Camp near Sion. While Sion Hospital is overburdened, the 60-bed Raoli Camp maternity home is underutilised. With human resources from Sion, we will be able to make better use of the maternity home. Apart from the physical infrastructure, we are also working on human resources. We have started sensitisation workshops for doctors to help them communicate better with patients.
What is the BMC doing to control the surge in the number of people suffering from lifestyle diseases such as diabetes and hypertension?
We are looking at creating awareness about prevention of lifestyle disease at the hospital and community level. Our mass urban slum outreach programme — Mumbai Arogya Abhiyan — is trying to control communicable diseases in vulnerable areas by screening patients and providing basic treatment. In the long run, we hope to expand the brief to include control of lifestyle diseases, too.
What else can we expect in the long term? We see a need for more cancer treatment facilities as well as geriatric care, considering the growing senior citizen population. We hope to set up centres specialising in these two areas in the future.