Hyderabad: Quality healthcare and free treatment came to the doorsteps of the poor in Hyderabad in April 2018, when the first Basti Dawakhana was inaugurated.
Now, two years later, what began as a limited service in a small way has grown to 197 health and wellness centres across the limits of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) and have become all the more significant in the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, when most are reluctant to visit a hospital.
These centres are now offering free medicines, consultation, specialist services, diagnostic tests and even telemedicine facilities.
“People like us cannot afford private doctors or corporate hospitals. For us, Basti Dawakhanas offer all these services for free and more importantly, very near to our home,” said Asmatunnisa Begum, a resident of Tolichowki, who was waiting at the Akbarpura Dawakhana.
Another resident, Mohd. Faizuddin, said the staff and services extended at the Dawakhanas were very helpful.
“My wife was diagnosed with a disease three months back. Ever since, the doctors and staff have extended quality medicare for free. I am thankful to the Telangana government for setting up these clinics,” he said.
Now, more of the Dawakhanas are on the cards. Municipal Administration and Urban Development Minister KT Rama Rao had recently announced that 100 more clinics would be launched shortly in Hyderabad, Ranga Reddy and Medchal districts.
Instructions have been issued to officials to ensure every division, which has a huge population of urban poor in the GHMC limits, has one or more Basti Dawakhanas.
Every Basti Dawakhana registers over 100 outpatients a day, and a total of 25,000 citizens avail the OP services daily across the city.
The clinics provide 53 different kinds of free services, such as OPD consultation, basic lab diagnosis, medicines, antenatal/postnatal care, and screening for non-communicable diseases such as BP and diabetes. Nearly 5,000 types of tests are conducted, especially for the urban poor, at these Basti Dawakhanas and other PHCs.
In the Hyderabad district limits, there are 115 Dawakhanas and by this month end, another 20 will be added, Programme Officer (Hyderabad) P. Anuradha said.
Telemedicine gets popular
In these times of the pandemic, when a visit to a corporate hospital or a private clinic can be risky and also cost a bomb, telemedicine services at Basti Dawakhanas are turning out to be a blessing for many.
Samyuktha, a resident of Moosarambagh, visited the Basti Dawakhana at Gaddiannaram on Saturday to get specialist consultation through telemedicine.
“I have severe backpain and the doctor advised me some exercises, tablets and nutritional diet. It was very helpful,” she said.
Dr. Nida Fathima, the Medical Officer at the centre, along with the patient attended the telemedicine session and guided her as per the specialist advice.
Different kind of specialist services, including Gynaecology, Psychiatric, Oncology, Physiotherapy etc are offered over telemedicine.
There is a weekly schedule of specialist services and depending on their convenience, patients can avail their services for free, said Dr. Fathima.
“Telemedicine is a big hit with people. They can avail services of specialist doctors for free, without travelling or waiting for long. Gynaecology services are the most sought after,” she said.
Not many viral and dengue cases this year
Even as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to rage on, the number of viral cases, dengue or chikungunya cases in the city are very less compared to last year.
According to Basti Dawakhanas Programme Officer (Hyderabad) P. Anuradha, people visiting the dawakhanas for viral fevers or dengue are very few this season, unlike last year.
“This could be because there is increased awareness among people as they keep washing their hands and sanitise them. This apart, consumption of outside food and stepping out has come down a lot,” she said.
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