Private hospitals treated 80% of Covid-19 patients in Pune

The highest number of cases in Pune was at 17,781 on September 20 and the worst case scenario predicted by the Pune Municipal Corporation is 19,560 cases. (Representational image)

Nearly 80% of the Covid-19 infection cases in Pune were treated at private hospitals and 20% in government hospitals. Dr Dhananjay Kelkar, medical director, Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital, said both private and government-run hospitals were able to deal with the surge in cases and keep death rate at 2.4% compared to 5.6% seen in Mumbai. Dr Kelkar said though there were a few cases of hospitals denying beds to patients, once these cases were highlighted, it was never repeated.

However, it is clear that Pune’s public healthcare facility that includes the state-run Sassoon General Hospital and Dr Naidu Contagious Diseases Hospital would not suffice, and almost all the public and private hospitals would have to treat Covid-19 patients, Dr Kelkar said.

Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital was one of the 200-plus private hospitals that were roped in by the Maharasthra government to treat Covid patients who needed hospitalization. These hospitals were brought into the fight against the pandemic by the Pune Platform for Covid-19 Response (PPCR), an initiative that brought together nearly 500 plus NGOs, hospitals, corporate houses, start-ups, businesses and philanthropists to put up a co-ordinated fight against the pandemic.

According to the PPCR report, ‘Catalyzing Collaborations’, these were among the few reasons that Pune was successful in bending the pandemic curve. The PPCR looped in private hospitals to provide timely healthcare to citizens, says the report.

Sudhir Mehta, lead and co-ordinator, PPCR, said, it took a lot of persuasion from them to allow private hospitals to be part of the treatment. The government feared that private hospitals would be money minded, but were able to create trust and it worked, Mehta said.

Pune had 1,223 oxygen beds and 146 ICUs in April 2020. The numbers have now gone up to 4,058 oxygen beds, 1,120 ICU beds and 715 beds with ventilators. So from having the maximum number of positive cases and deaths, Pune was able to come down to recording 150 to 200 positive cases per day by November 10, 2020, Dr Kelkar said.

Abhay Firodia, chairman of Force Motors, said, while the government hospitals have all the infrastructure but they lagged behind the private sector in utilization of resources and functional efficiencies. To improve the government and charitable hospitals, they should be asked to share quarterly updates like listed companies do, suggests Firodia.

The number of positive cases in Pune has started rising and is now hovering at around 600 positive cases a day because of the post-festival surge. Pune is preparing for a post-festive resurgence of cases in the coming days.

The highest number of cases in Pune was at 17,781 on September 20 and the worst case scenario predicted by the Pune Municipal Corporation is 19,560 cases. The city is ready with 847 ICU beds and 446 of these ICU beds with ventilators, 2,347 beds with oxygen. There are a total of 10,000 beds at Covid care centres and 4,091 beds with oxygen available currently.

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