Hyderabad: The two successive waves of Covid-19 pandemic have ended up playing a crucial role in reshaping the medical infrastructure and healthcare services across government hospitals in Telangana. While the pandemic led to a significant rise in morbidity and mortality among the public, the fact also remains that the State government’s response has also led to massive push for new infrastructure and improving existing medical systems in government hospitals.
When the first Covid-19 positive case was reported on March 3, 2020 in Hyderabad, not a government hospital was adequately prepared to handle the pandemic. Fast forward to 15 months and government hospitals at every level in the State are prepared to provide treatment to Covid positive cases. From having just one centralised facility to treat Covid patients at Gandhi Hospital, at present Telangana has over 55,000 dedicated hospital beds for Covid patients at both private and government hospitals.
In the first Covid-19 wave, the State just had a few hundred government hospitals beds with dedicated oxygen lines and by the second wave, State Health Department is in the process of adding close to 3,000 additional oxygen lines across the State. Apart from developing more oxygen lines, since the past one-year there has been a concerted effort to create facilities that will hold or store medical oxygen within the premises of the teaching hospitals. As a result, liquid oxygen tanks have come up at all the major Covid care facilities.
At one point, there were more than 50,000 positive cases under home isolation during the second wave. To ensure individuals, especially those living in districts and remote villages who did not have enough space at home for isolation, the government also created exclusive Covid Care Centres in all the 33 districts with a capacity of 6,462 beds.
On the diagnostics front, the pandemic also saw the expansion of T-Diagnostics initiative. During the first wave, high-end laboratories that offered free diagnostics were limited to Gandhi Hospital, NIMS and Institute of Preventive Medicine (IPM). However, by the second Covid wave, close to 19 high-end diagnostic laboratories developed with a cost over Rs 1 crore each have come up in several districts while the remaining ones are expected to be functional in coming months. These labs will conduct Covid related tests like d-dimer, IL6 and other blood work for free.
In yet another significant move towards improving healthcare services, Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao recently announced plans to launch new teaching hospitals at Sangareddy, Jagtiyal, Kothagudem, Wanaparthy, Mancherial and Mahabubabad. The advantages of creating new medical infrastructure and establishing medical colleges across Telangana during the Covid pandemic will be immense, given the fact that Covid-19 will not be the last pandemic.
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