Mumbai struggling with medical infrastructure amid pandemic, says report

Mumbai First and Praja Foundation released the “Ideal Mumbai public health manifesto”, highlighting the city’s primary healthcare needs and suggested a strong public health action plan.

The health index is annual tool to assess the performance of states and Union Territories (UTs) based on 24 indicators grouped under the domains of ‘health outcomes’, ‘governance and information’, and ‘key inputs/processes’.
The health index is annual tool to assess the performance of states and Union Territories (UTs) based on 24 indicators grouped under the domains of ‘health outcomes’, ‘governance and information’, and ‘key inputs/processes’.

Amid apprehension about a third wave of coronavirus pandemic with the rise in omicron cases, nearly 45 per cent posts in the city’s health department are lying vacant, according to a “public health manifesto” released by two NGOs here. Mumbai First and Praja Foundation released the “Ideal Mumbai public health manifesto”, highlighting the city’s primary healthcare needs and suggested a strong public health action plan. They said Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) should strengthen the city’s healthcare by implementing their recommendations, and called for a strong and compelling action plan for public health. There are 44 and 45 per cent vacancies of medical and para-medical staff respectively in the city, the manifesto said. Filling these vacant posts is crucial, as it will strengthen the healthcare management in pandemic-like situations, it added.

“The pandemic has exacerbated the mental health crisis in the city and the current public health infrastructure is not sufficient to help its citizens navigate through these issues,” said Dr Neville Mehta, CEO of Mumbai First. “The manifesto highlights the need for city-wide morbidity data or disease-burden data for mental health issues, amongst other things. This data will help us understand the scope and scale of the problem and allocate resources for it,” Mehta said. Only 20 per cent of the BMC health budget was allocated for revenue expenditure on primary healthcare and during the pandemic, public health institutions were burdened beyond their limits, said Yogesh Mishra, Research and Data Head, Praja Foundation.

“This manifesto is an attempt to provide a list of expert suggestions that can help improve the quality of healthcare services and plug the various gaps identified to make Mumbai a safe city for its citizens,” said Narinder Nayar, Chairman of Mumbai First. A step towards inclusive health policy and planning, setting up institutional structures such as mohalla health committees along with elected representatives, self-help groups can enable community ownership and accountability, the organisations said in the joint report.

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