Mumbai: Civic health infrastructure ailing, needs ramping up

Praja Foundation Dialogue Programme Head Yogesh Mishra underscored that the BMC has an adequate budget; however, the issue lies in prioritising its allocation

Swapnil MishraUpdated: Wednesday, July 13, 2022, 10:21 AM IST
article-image
Representative Image |

Mumbai: Despite a steady increase of 196 per cent in the BMC’s health budget since 2012, the civic health infrastructure lags on crucial parameters, including the number of dispensaries required for the city as well as their working hours.

Such worrying facts have came to fore in the white paper released by the NGO, Praja Foundation.

According to the report, 187 BMC dispensaries exists currently, however, Mumbai ideally requires 858 government dispensaries. The dearth of health facilities aggravates further as the white paper underscored that 12 out of 187 dispensaries are accessible for 14 hours.

Whereas, 174 of them dispensaries are open for only 5 to 7 hours, the report said while asserting that there should be one dispensary for 15,000 population as per the National Building Code of India (NBCI).

Elaborating about the overburdened dispensaries, Praja Foundation CEO Milind Mhaske said that the wards of Dahisar, Chembur and Tilak Nagar, Kurla, Malad, Goregaon, Matunga and Sion, Kandivali, Ghatkopar, and Powai have more than 50 per cent slum population.

However, these wards have only 8 dispensaries on an average, he averred, adding that wards of Andheri and Jogeshwari and Mankhurd and Govandi require more than 50 dispensaries according to the NBCI. But, in these wards, not even a single dispensary is open for more than seven hours.

Giving another instance, Mhaske said that Malad has a population of 9.74 lakh, highest among all other wards, but there are only 12 dispensaries and three government hospitals for the entire population. As per the NBCI, there should be 65 dispensaries in the ward, he said.

Praja Foundation Dialogue Programme Head Yogesh Mishra underscored that the BMC has an adequate budget; however, the issue lies in prioritising its allocation.

He said that the BMC's health budget shows an increase by 196 per cent from 2012-13 to 2022-23. In the current BMC health budget, 73 per cent has been allocated to hospitals while 27 per cent went to the primary healthcare facilities.

He stressed upon the need of strengthening BMC's primary healthcare services so “as to lower the burden of citizens' out-of-pocket expenditure on medical expenses”.

The white paper also mentioned about the shortage of manpower, stating that city had a medical staff vacancy of 27 per cent as of December, 2021. The shortage of staff increased from 28 per cent in 2019 to 30 per cent in 2020, underlined the report.

It further hinted that the lack of medical infra wasn’t a pressing concern in the BMC committees. Corroborating the statement, the report mentioned that from 2012 to 2021, just 2 out of every 100 questions were asked on health personnel and medical infrastructural issues in these committees.

Mulling a solution for the issue, Healis Institute of Public Health Director Dr Mangesh Pednekar said that the BMC should opt for public private partnerships and mobilise civil societies and NGO infrastructure for strengthening the medical system.

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

RECENT STORIES

Raigad gun scare: AK 47, ammo found on boat; Maharashtra on high alert

Raigad gun scare: AK 47, ammo found on boat; Maharashtra on high alert

Borivli flyover potholes: BMC, MSRDC pass blame

Borivli flyover potholes: BMC, MSRDC pass blame

No blanket relief for victims of false criminal cases: Supreme Court

No blanket relief for victims of false criminal cases: Supreme Court

SC orders status quo, says Delhi HC-appointed CoA will not take charge of IOA

SC orders status quo, says Delhi HC-appointed CoA will not take charge of IOA

Mumbai: 70% Covid deaths in vaxxed elderly

Mumbai: 70% Covid deaths in vaxxed elderly