Mumbai: The state government appears to have overlooked the lessons from recent hospital tragedies in Thane and Nanded, where a total of 42 lives were lost. Palghar district continues to transfer patients to nearby district hospitals such as Thane, Navi Mumbai, and Mumbai, exacerbating the already overwhelming patient influx in these areas.
In August, 18 patients died in 24 hours at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Memorial (CSMM) Hospital in Kalwa and
In October, 24 patients lost their lives at Dr Shankarrao Chavan Government Medical College and Hospital in Nanded town in 24 hours.
Palghar residents left with no choice but to seek medical aid from other districts
Lakhs of residents in Palghar have no alternative but to seek healthcare in Mumbai or Thane districts. Despite the state government’s announcement in June regarding the construction of a new hospital and medical college, these facilities are anticipated to take at least five more years to materialise.
The anticipated construction of a hospital and medical college, budgeted at ₹200 crore, has encountered a standstill since 2018, primarily attributed to delays in the tendering process, according to a senior official who spoke anonymously. This prolonged tendering procedure is described as a new approach adopted by the government, contributing to project delays.
The state government had greenlit the establishment of government medical colleges, each capable of accommodating 100 students, coupled with 430-bedded hospitals across districts like Palghar, Ambernath, Jalana, Amravati, Budhana, Washim, Wardha, Bhandara, and Gadchiroli. The decision materialised following the approval of proposals by the Central government, aligning with norms established by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Significantly, the WHO recommends one doctor per 1,000 population, a standard that the current doctor-to-population ratio in the state, at 0.84 per 1,000, falls short of meeting. An official from the Directorate of Medical Education, speaking anonymously, revealed that the tendering process is pending to initiate hospital construction, a prerequisite for the subsequent establishment of the medical college. The entire process, from construction to college commencement, is estimated to span four to five years. In contrast, the remaining seven districts are set to leverage existing government infrastructure following the necessary procedures for land and asset transfer to the medical education department.
Lack of adequate medical infrastructure
Notably, Palghar lacks both a medical college and a civil hospital. Experts critique the state government, asserting that projects benefiting citizens face persistent delays, while those serving governmental interests promptly progress.
Health experts decry the government's reactive stance, expressing concern that crucial projects receive attention only after significant tragedies, highlighting the dire conditions of rural Maharashtra hospitals. They emphasize the necessity for consistent prioritization of healthcare infrastructure rather than reactive responses to crises.
The state government had announced to start a hospital with a capacity of 430 beds in the district and 100 seats will be available in the medical college. With the opening of the medical college, the people of the district will get medical facilities in their own area.
-Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Memorial Hospital in Kalwa witnessed 18 deaths in 24 hours in August, while Dr Shankarrao Chavan Government Medical College and Hospital in Nanded reported 24 deaths in October
-Lakhs of Palghar residents compelled to seek healthcare in Mumbai or Thane due to the absence of adequate local facilities
-The Rs200 crore budgeted for the hospital and medical college construction has faced delays since 2018, attributed to a prolonged tendering process.
-The tendering delays are described as a new government method contributing to project delays, as revealed by a senior official speaking anonymously.
-Government-approved medical colleges and 430-bedded hospitals planned across Palghar, Ambernath, Jalana, Amravati, Budhana, Washim, Wardha, Bhandara, and Gadchiroli districts
-The World Health Organization recommends one doctor per 1,000 population; however, Maharashtra's current ratio stands at 0.84 per 1,000, falling short of global standards
-Initiation of hospital construction is pending until the completion of the tendering process, with the entire process estimated to span four to five years
-Seven districts plan to leverage existing government infrastructure, transferring land and assets to the medical education department
-Palghar lacks both a medical college and a civil hospital, exacerbating healthcare challenges for the local population