Mumbai BMC Budget: Healthcare Allocation Stagnates At 12% Despite Mahayuti Government's Pledge

Mumbai BMC Budget: Healthcare Allocation Stagnates At 12% Despite Mahayuti Government's Pledge

The allocation of funds for health remains at 12 per cent for the second consecutive year.

Swapnil MishraUpdated: Friday, February 02, 2024, 09:51 PM IST
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The Mahayuti government’s promise of improved healthcare services, infrastructure and facilities across civic-run hospitals is not reflected with increased allocation in the BMC budget this year. The allocation of funds for health remains at 12 per cent for the second consecutive year.

The 2023-24 budget had an allocation of Rs 6,309.38 crore, while the 2022-23 budget showed an allocation of Rs 6,934 crore (15 per cent). Civic chief Iqbal Singh Chahal said they will mainly focus on the completion of 11 pending health infrastructure projects, of which four (mainly hospitals) are over 50 per cent complete, while others are 20-30 per cent complete. He said the deadline for all projects is 2026.

The key takeaway from this year’s budget is Rs306 crore for the proposed installation of Hospital Management Information System (HMIS) in all BMC medical facilities to streamline the patient care system and make it transparent with the use of the latest information technology system. The second key takeaway is an autonomous university for medical and paramedical education that allows medical practitioners to take up courses in homeopathy and ayurveda, besides other forms of treatment.

Additional municipal commissioner Dr Sudhakar Shinde said they have also proposed six additional polyclinic and diagnostic centres and 54 Hinduhridaysamrat Balasaheb Thackeray Aapla Dawakhana, in addition to the existing 202. He also announced an allocation of Rs23.46 crore for physiotherapy and ENT facilities. Another programme, Mukhyamantri Aarogya Aapalya Dari will include screening for diabetes, high blood pressure, mental health and common types of cancer (oral, breast and cervix), besides providing referral services, and blood tests at home for the elderly and vulnerable citizens.

Dr Shinde also announced the BMC’s focus on Cancer Prevention Model for ward-level diagnostic and referral services to control oral, breast and cervical cancers with the involvement of public and private sectors. “A heart rejuvenation ‘spoke and hub’ model for diagnosis and treatment will be proposed on pilot basis,” he added.

Dr Shinde also announced a liver and heart transplant department and centenary tower building at KEM Hospital, besides oncology and emergency department building at BYL Nair Hospital.

Amid the reported shortage of MRI machines in civic hospitals, the BMC said it will also procure four 3-Tesla MRI machines at a cost of Rs110 crore directly from a specialised firm that comes under the Centre.

For TB, 24 Truenat machines and 24 handheld x-ray machines for 24 wards; Truenat is a chip-based real time polymerase chain reaction test. The BMC, in collaboration with SMILE Research Institute, has also started diagnosing TB through the advanced whole genome sequencing (WGS), and will start a 10-bed intensive respiratory care unit at GTB Hospital in Sewree.

However, health experts didn’t find the budget favourable for Mumbaikars. They said that every year funds are allocated for health infrastructure but none of the projects are completed. One of them said on condition of anonymity that it seems like funds have been allocated to projects from which profits can be earned. “There’s no mention of how treatment is denied to patients from outside Mumbai, and repairs of hospital buildings pending since last four to five years,” the expert added.

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