Mumbai: The health budget of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has increased by 15 per cent this year, going up from Rs3,601 crore to Rs4,151 crore in the financial year 2019-20. It is the first time the health budget has crossed Rs4,000 crore.
The budget mainly focusses on improving infrastructure, reinforcing manpower at tertiary and periphery hospitals and the development of primary health care services, by buying sophisticated equipment worth over Rs100 crore, to improve diagnostic facilities and provide effective treatment to poor patients.
Although the budget primarily focusses on the health of Mumbaikars, “There is no new provision, as we are mainly focussing on providing accessible and better facilities to the patients. As new hospitals are being set up and medical equipments are being upgraded, we have proposed to increase the budget by 15 per cent,” said Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta.
As peripheral hospitals are adequately equipped, patients must rush to the King Edward Memorial (KEM), Lokmanya Tilak Municipal General (LTMG) Hospital, Sion, and BYL Nair Hospital, which puts extra pressure on the major civic-run hospitals. “To ease pressure on major hospitals, we are upgrading the hospitals to super speciality centres, and the health budget has been increased with this aim in mind,” said Mehta.
“Most of the repair has started and is proceeding in a phased manner. Besides, there will be an increase in the number of nursing staff. Around Rs1.05 crore was assigned for the repair of around 25 dispensaries across the city,” said Mehta. About the repair of dispensaries and special BMC hospitals, Dr Padmaja Keskar, the executive health officer, BMC public health department, said, “We have identified four dispensaries as part of a pilot project.
These will be repaired in a certain way. Of the four, repair of one dispensary is over. Upgradation of maternity homes and filling vacancies are in the pipeline.” Last year, the BMC had procured state-of-the-art machines, like the digital subtraction angiography machine, a cardiac catheterisation device and a multi-parameter patient monitor in all civic hospitals.
“All the machines were procured for treating brain stroke and their total cost was Rs91.60 crore,” claimed a senior health official. Hemant Deshmukh, the dean of KEM Hospital and director of civic-run hospitals, said, “Repair has started in KEM and Sion hospitals. The work will take time, as it is planned in different phases. We might increase the number of beds.”