There are around 13,000 health institutions available across Maharashtra to look after the medical needs of patients suffering from ailments other than Covid-19, the state government told the Bombay High Court. The HC was further informed that over Rs 220 crore has been allocated by the Union government to Maharashtra, of which Rs 52.97 crore is for Mumbai alone.
This amount, the government said, was allocated by the Union public health department under its annual health mission of 2019-2020.
A bench of Justice Shirish Gupte was further informed that due care is being taken by the government to implement social distancing norms at all the quarantine centres.
The bench was dealing with a public interest litigation filed by an NGO through senior counsel Mihir Desai, highlighting a series of issues pertaining to coronavirus and the facilities being provided by the government.
The petition also sought compulsory testing of all frontline warriors in the panic to ensure they did not fall prey to the deadly virus.
In response to the plea, the city's health service commissioner - Dr Sadhana Tayade filed an affidavit, stating, "There are 10, 638 sub-centres, 1,824 primary health centres and 362 rural hospitals in Maharashtra, which are directly under the control of Public Health Department. All the facilities are available to provide preventive and curative services to non-Covid patients."
Dr Tayade further informed the bench that the relevant authorities had been ordered to direct all the private practitioners within their jurisdiction to provide health services to the public and not to refuse or deny services to any patient.
The 10-page affidavit further stated, a multi-member body has been formed to monitor maternal and child health services, as well as dialysis, chemotherapy, thalassaemia-related emergency services which covers non-Covid patients.
As regards the demand of the petitioner NGO for testing frontliners, the affidavit pointed out, "All frontliners are tested as per guidelines prescribed by Union home ministry. Also, necessary directions have been issued to relevant authorities to ensure that all front line workers in the essential services are provided with appropriate personal protection equipment (PPE), sanitisers etc."
Meanwhile, the bench has ordered the civic body to spell out its stand on the issue and adjourned the matter for further hearing.