Mumbai: Health care centre that could have treated locals, shut six months back

It was one of the largest primary care facilities in the city and many locals from Govandi benefited from it; new centre yet to be started

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) Urban Health Centre at Baiganwadi in Govandi, which could have played a major role in treating a number of people affected by the smoke from the fire at the Deonar dumping ground, has been shut since six months. The centre was run by resident doctors and trainees of the BYL Nair Hospital and Medical College, and provided specialised medical care to local residents.

Residents said that had the centre been operational, it could have played a major role in resolving their respiratory complaints. Pic/Sameer Markande
Residents said that had the centre been operational, it could have played a major role in resolving their respiratory complaints. Pic/Sameer Markande

Sources said it was one of the largest primary care facilities in the city run by specialist doctors who managed the OPD. However, as the structure was dilapidated and would leak during the monsoon, the civic body stopped the medical services. “They had plans of shifting the centre elsewhere. There is another post at Kamlaram Nagar but they don’t have a specialised doctor at the OPD, as we did,” said a clerical employee there.

While the centre is to be demolished soon, and rebuilt as a full-fledged hospital at the nearby Shivaji Nagar Compound, residents said that had it been operational, it could have played a major role in resolving their issues. The closure of the centre put more pressure on three newly opened medical posts in

M-East Ward. However, one of them, the Kamlaram Nagar post, was located too close to the fire — 100 feet from the dumping ground. So, the residents were forced to travel to the two other posts, one near RBK School on Mankhurd-Chembur Link Road, another at Lallubhai Compound near Mankhurd, or go all the way to Shatabdi Hospital.

“Residents cant afford private doctors or to go all the way to Shatabdi Hospital every time there is a fire and there are smoke issues,” said Samira Ansari, a resident of Baiganwadi undergoing treatment at Shatabdi for a respiratory tract infection after the fire.

Temporary centre still awaited
On November 23, last year, post a meeting with local corporator Rais Shaikh, Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta had issued a letter (copy is with mid-day) directing the assistant commissioner of M-East Ward to expedite the tender for civil repair works at Natwar Compound for the establishment of a temporary centre by December 12, 2015.

The chief accountant (finance) was asked to allocate funds to the assistant commissioner and, at the same time, the dean of Nair Hospital was given a deadline of January 1, to arrange adequate equipment and furniture for the temporary centre and make it operational.

However, the centre remains under construction even as the residents of the area were left gasping for breath during the Deonar fire incident, which went on for five days.

Corporator Shaikh said it is the complete disinterest of the engineers towards public health initiatives that have crippled the project and kept residents from receiving medical care during an emergency, which was even highlighted by the chief minister. “There is complete disregard for the project even though there are strict instructions of the MC. The reason is complete neglect by the engineers towards the priority of the work and deadline,” said Shaikh.

Hospital waits too
Dr Ramesh Bharmal, dean of BYL Nair Hospital, said he is waiting for the BMC officials to complete the work. “I won’t take more than two days to start the centre. We are waiting for the concerned department to complete the works,” said Bharmal.

Dr S R Suryavanshi, HOD of the Preventive and Social Medicine (PSM) department of BYL Nair Hospital said, “We couldn’t start the OPD because it is still under construction. Also we haven’t been allotted the entire building, but 10-12 rooms on the first floor of the building. As soon as the ward officials complete the work, we will start functioning”.

He also admitted that the presence of doctors at the post could have helped patients suffering from respiratory issues.

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