At the peak of the first Covid-19 wave in June-July 2020, the city faced a shortage of beds due to an increasing number of patients. To handle the challenging situation the state government, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), and the BMC together built the first and the largest make-shift Jumbo hospital at Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) with a capacity of 2,500 beds.
A year later, in May 2021, heavy rains and strong winds due to cyclone Tauktae also couldn’t deter the centre, which has treated 26,683 patients until now. The BKC Covid centre has also vaccinated 4.81 lakh citizens, before completing two years on May 19. On its foundation day, over 100 frontline workers and Covid warriors were felicitated for their contribution during the two deadly Covid waves and the Omicron wave this year.
The jumbo facility is spread over 3.3 lakh sqft and offers state-of-the-art facilities, with best patient care at par with private hospitals. The MMRDA had completed its erection with 1,026 beds in a record time of 17 days (Phase 1). In the first Covid wave, around 10,000 patients were treated here with zero deaths, the BMC officials have claimed. With the increasing number of cases, Phase 2 was built with an ICU facility of 108 beds in about 18 days. “The jumbo centre at BKC was not only built in a record time, but its ICU beds and dialysis beds are still functioning,” said BMC chief Iqbal Singh Chahal.
Dr Rajesh Dere, the dean at BKC Covid and vaccination centre said, “Setting up a 2000-bed hospital with all infrastructure in place was a challenge that was exacerbated by its location in a low-lying area with waterlogging during the monsoon.”
The Covid warriors were felicitated by deputy municipal commissioners Vijay Balamwar and Ramakant Biradar, and director of land acquisition (MMRDA) Anil Wankhede. Also present were veteran actor Randhir Kapoor and actor Alka Kubal.
Earlier, I was working at Asian Heart Hospital. Being a lab technician, I would go to the Covid centre to take swabs of patients. In the initial days, I was worried for my health, as well as for my elderly parents. I have been working with the centre for the last two years. Luckily, I was not infected even once.
Sneha Lakeshri (Lab technician)
During the pandemic, many complications were caused by comorbidities, in which diabetes was turning deadlier. At that time, I met the dean of BKC Jumbo Covid hospital and was willing to offer my services. I have been infected in all the three waves and was also hospitalised.
Dr Firdous Sheikh (Diabetologist)
I was working in a private hospital earlier, but during the pandemic we were asked to work for Covid centres. Since then, I have worked with the BKC centre, too. I used to stay isolated for the safety of my own. But still, all my family members got infected that period was tough for me.
Rinku Bansode (Nurse)
I have worked at Harvard University as a medical officer. I was isolated when I came to Mumbai; on the 8th day I decided to work with Jumbo Covid hospital. Working here at that time was very difficult; we were not able to drink water with our PPE kits. There was also mental stress. After working in this hospital in two waves, now I am working at Seven Hills Hospital.
Dr Veena Gupta (ENT Specialist)