As India faces a deadly crunch in hospital infrastructure amid the second covid wave, the Balod district administration in Chhattisgarh led by example by opening a 42-bed hospital with oxygen support. The hospital located near the district hospital built after pooling funds from government staffers was inaugurated on May 11 and is now fully operational.
The government-led initiative was handed over by the district collector Janmejay Mahobe to the state department of health after the inauguration.
The administration has ramped up health infrastructure by establishing a covid centre with 1,000 beds at Dallirajehara, 50-bed covid centre at Deori and 100-bedded covid centre at the Balod district hospital.
The district collector has been leading the battle against the severe shortage in oxygen bed amid new infections resurgence. “When the district was struck with the second wave, we hardly had 25-30 oxygen beds at the district hospital,” Mahobe told News18 over the phone. “Due to a shortage of facilities in the relatively small district, most of the covid patients had gotten treatments at nearby cities: including Durg, Raipur and Rajnandgaon in the first wave. So facility crunch did not hurt last year.”
However, things were different this year as infections started getting reported post-Holi and, by April, peaked to around 400.
“We arranged jumbo cylinders and kept increasing oxygen support beds at district hospitals and covid-19 centres, but patients keep coming in, so we decided to enhance facilities and chose a tribal hostel near district hospital,” the collector said.
As government staffers pooled funds, the 42-bed, all with oxygen support, was ready in 12 days-time and was handed over to the health department. Locals, including a retired government teacher, also extended help and provided medical supplies to help the district battle the surge.
“However, since the idea was to build the facility by government staff members, the donated oxygen cylinders, concentrators, ambulances, hearse vans and other supplies were sent to covid care centres and the district hospital,” Mahobe said.
Currently, the district has 339 hospital beds, including Intensive care units (ICU) and high dependency units (HDU).
The officer further said that they plan to expand it to a 400-bed facility, including a child care unit, when the third wave hits the district. He also lauded the public for supporting and playing an active role in the fight against the pandemic.
From a peak of 400 cases, we have returned to around 100 cases per day, said the officer claiming that frontline workers have been administered 100 per cent first done and 90 per cent with the second jab. Around 92 per cent of people above the age of 45 in the district have received jabs and vaccination is under progress for the 18-44 age group.