The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has time and again claimed that it is taking proper care of Covid patients on all counts, including health and diet. The civic body claims to be spending somewhere between Rs 250 to Rs 350 on a patient's meals each day, including evening snacks.
However, Covid patients are complaining about the poor quality of food and the small portions they are being served at quarantine centres. A Covid-positive patient presently quarantined at a centre in Antop Hill has complained that they get poor quality food which is "tasteless".
The patient, who did not want to be named said, "The food we get has no taste at all. I have seen many patients return the plates, leaving the food untouched," the patient has claimed.
"We get only three chappatis, very little rice, daal and sabzi. There is no pickle or salad provided. Wouldn't a salad be nutritious?," the patient said in a message forwarded to activist Kamlakar Shenoy.
As per Shenoy, the food being given to the patients in this centre is substandard. "I think an Udupi hotel would provide much better and nutritious food at Rs 40 to Rs 50 per meal. But what they are being served right now, I am told, is very low quantity and quality. The photo shows what kind of food is being served to these patients afflicted with the deadly virus," Shenoy said.
"I fail to understand how these patients can recover if they aren't served good food. The authorities need to understand that these patients need nutritious food and decent portions of it. Only then will they recover easily," Shenoy added.
When contacted, Gajanan Bellale, the assistant municipal commissioner of F North ward (Wadala), said that he had not received any official complaint yet.
"I am not aware of any such grievance and I think that if any patient has such a complaint, s/he should communicate it to us. All that I can say is, proper food is being given to every one and we are paying Rs 240 per patient for three meals a day," Bellale told The Free Press Journal.
"In fact, the food served to these patients is first checked by the doctors who are treating them and any deficiency is reported to us. But since such a plaint is being made now, I will ensure everything is in place," Bellale added.
Further, he said, he would summon the concerned personnel on Monday and take stock of matters.
According to clinical nutritionist Dr Nupur Krishnan, the quantity of the food provided would depend upon the body frame of a patient and his or her personal capacity.
"A person with a large body frame would, by default, need the right quantity of food. And if s/he isn't served so, it would make them further sick from within. But on the other hand, those with small or medium body frames would require less. So it is very important that a proper quantity of food be served to the patients, as per their diet," said Dr Krishnan, who has more than two decades of experience in her field.
Dr Nupur further said, there is a need for the authorities to be guided by some nutritionist, so as to ensure that patients get proper quality and quantity of food. "I am not suggesting that nutritionists be appointed but the doctors on-field could take help from nutritionists via video calls, on what must be served to patients and what not," she added.