Covid Has Exposed Our Underfunded Healthcare System

The Sunday StandardJuly 05, 2020

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Covid Has Exposed Our Underfunded Healthcare System
Vinayak Jadhav, an 80-year old retired banker, living in Chembur, Mumbai, began feeling breathless and ill on May 12. His son Viren, after preliminary examination, tried to admit him at the L H Hiranandani Hospital, in nearby Powai.
Gurbir Singh

The swanky, private hospital refused, insisting on a Covid test. By the time Jadhav had one done, and had tested Covid-positive, the hospital said it had no beds. The patient was finally admitted in Seven Hills Hospital, a municipal facility; but by then Vinayak Jadhav’s condition had deteriorated sharply. On May 15, he was dead.

Sarfraz Ahmad, 35, a machinist and a resident of Etbhatti, Goregaon (East), Mumbai, fared worse. He died at home, suffering in his small slum hovel on May 30, waiting for the municipal corporation to take him to a hospital. The authorities had been notified and a health team had examined him, promising to return to pick him up on May 29. They never came.

These snapshots are a telling indictment of our collapsing healthcare system. While the central government sanctioned an emergency ₹15,000 crore for the battle against the Coronavirus, the poor healthcare infrastructure could hardly take the load of the massive flow of Covid patients.

Private healthcare fails

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July 05, 2020