10 ventilators in an ICU facility worth Rs 1cr lying unused since two months due to lack of intensivist and trained PMC staff
According to additional commissioner Rubal Agarwal, the delay in strating the ICU unit at Dalvi hospital has been because of the installation work and non-availability of intensivistUpdated: Jul 03, 2020 16:10 IST
The Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC) plan to upgrade its health infrastructure to combat Covid-19 has hit a roadblock at Dalvi hospital due to absence of an intensivist and trained faculty for running the advanced ICU facility. The lack of trained personnel has forced the ICU facility, estimated to be worth Rs 1 crore, to remain shut for the past two months since its inauguration.
The ICU at Dalvi Maternity hospital was formally started on April 28 when Credai (Confederation of Real Estate Developers Associations of India) donated 10 ventilators to the PMC. According to additional commissioner Rubal Agarwal, the delay in strating the ICU unit at Dalvi hospital has been because of the installation work and non-availability of intensivist.
“It takes time for installation of the ventilators. We had requested Credai for the ICU ventilators. It’s not that we don’t want to use them, we had even issued an advertisement to hire an intensivist. However, nobody came forward. We published an advertisement again and this week we will complete the recruitment process and start the facility. We have requested Sassoon General Hospital to conduct training for 15 days for our doctors and other medical professionals regarding the Covid-19 situation. The advertisement was issued in March and this is a permanent post, but still nobody came forward,” said Agarwal, who heads the health department.
It was after an appeal by PMC commissioner Shekhar Gaikwad for assistance from the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds that Credai Pune chapter helped build an ICU facility within eight days for which it allocated Rs 1 crore at PMC-run Dalvi Hospital in Shivajinagar.
The PMC has dedicated the hospital as a Covid-19 centre and all maternity operations have been stopped post the declaration.
The advanced ICU includes 40 state-of-the-art equipment such as beds, ventilators, defibrillators, suction machines, ECG machines among other equipment.
Vivek Velankar, an RTI activist who has been vocal about the civic body’s poor expenditure on health infrastructure, said, “The PMC should have honoured its commitment. When things are done for free, it is natural that things are taken for granted. In this case, at least the ICU should have been operational during this time of acute crisis. Its operations have been inordinately delayed.”
Suhas Merchant, president, Credai- Pune Metro said, “Considering the current situation, the municipal commissioner had appealed to Credai Pune Metro to set up an advanced ICU at Dalvi Hospital. At that time, we promised to set up a unit at the hospital in the next 15 days. But nonetheless, our office-bearers worked tirelessly to set up the ICU in a record time of just eight days.”
PMC has projected that if the Covid-19 cases continue to surge, the city will face shortage of ICU beds by July end. As on July 1, Pune’s Covid-19 tally had reached 18,105.
“We responded fast to address the needs of the local administration in its fight against Covid-19,” said Merchant.
Nasal Cannula Oxygen Therapy devices
As per the instruction of Dr Sanjay Oak, chairman Covid-19 task force and Dr Shashank Joshi, dean, Indian Medical College, the PMC under the directions of additional commissioner Rubal Agarwal installed 20 nasal cannula oxygen therapy devices at Naidu Hospital, each worth Rs 4 lakh. “These machines are very important as it helps in the fast recovery of patients. We have installed them at Naidu Hospital,” said Agarwal.