Covid-19 has been a harsh teacher. It has shaken the Telangana government out of complacency. As a possible third wave could strike anytime, the government is trying to take short-term and long-term measures to improve medical infrastructure. It has made a beginning by opening 19 diagnostic centres and announcing the setting up of seven more medical colleges in districts and an equal number of nursing colleges affiliated to them. The pandemic has reminded the government that it cannot leave people to the mercy of the predatory private health sector. The Cabinet, at its recent meeting, decided to spend a whopping Rs 10,000 crore on improving medical infrastructure in the public sector and sent a team to Sri Lanka to study the best practices employed in tackling Covid.
As the CM delved deep into the labyrinth of issues dogging the medical sector at the Cabinet meeting, he became painfully aware that only a surgical treatment would work as many district-level hospitals do not even have facilities like dialysis. Apart from fortifying the existing health facilities such as Gandhi Hospital, Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences and Telangana Institute of Medical Sciences, the government has decided to upgrade the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Hospital in Warangal into a super-speciality one. The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) located on the highway between Hyderabad and Warangal will be requiring support from both the state and the Centre as it has a long way to go.
The doctors in the districts did well even under the tough circumstances. The Gandhi Hospital in Hyderabad, which took the most load, put up a good performance despite the fact that all dialysis patients in the state are sent there. The recovery rate in the second wave was a very impressive 95.34%. If the government can walk the talk by improving facilities in the near term in hospitals apart from laying a strong foundation for the long term, even the third wave may not be all that unnerving. The immediate need is to increase the number of doctors, facilities and support staff at district-level hospitals as any laxity would have a direct impact on the quality of medical care.