The successful experience has encouraged the organisers to plan a full-fledged hospital after the pandemic is over
Shaheen Nazar | Clarion India
NEW DELHI — A Dedicated Covid Health Center being run by Jamaat-e-Islami Hind in Maharashtra’s Nagpur city for the last 50 days has treated up to 500 patients, say the organisers of the Centre. The 78-bed Centre or hospital is today a boon not only for the people of the city but the entire Vidarbha region as well as neighbouring Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh as Nagpur shares borders with the two states and serves as regional hub of medical services.
When this hospital was launched on April 1, Maharashtra was reeling under the second wave of coronavirus pandemic. Nagpur was the worst-hit in the state. Every day 8,000 new positive cases were being reported here while the health services had totally collapsed. The hospital came as a big relief as it started offering free service with dedicated staff and volunteers.
The hospital is run from a building owned by the NMC. “The building was lying unused. The NMC wanted to launch a Covid hospital but they were unable to do it. We offered our services, to which they agreed. So it’s a joint venture of the Jamaat as well as NMC. MSF, or Medical Service Society, an NGO run by the Jamaat, is the third partner,” Dr. Anwar Siddiqui told Clarion India over the phone from Nagpur. Siddiqui is in-charge of the hospital and heads the Jamaat-e-Islami in Nagpur.
The Jamaat is bearing all the cost of running the hospital. The NMC has provided just three doctors. Rest of the 14 doctors and a host of nurses and other staff have been arranged by the Jamaat. According to Siddiqui, four doctors, including himself, are giving free service while the rest of the doctors and workers have been hired.
The hospital has been receiving mostly chronic cases. It’s notable that during the last 50 days just eight patients have died here. Rest of the patients have been discharged after treatment. “Our recovery rate is best among all the Covid centres of NMC. The Commissioner of Nagpur appreciated us saying that even after observing Ramzan fast you people are giving your services so diligently,” Siddiqui said.
The commissioner is not alone in acknowledging the dedication of people running the facility. Former Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis was among a host of dignitaries who visited the hospital and commended the people associated with it. He said in a tweet, “Today our society needs such people and organisations who understand the pain and grief of people and who try to overcome their problems. We are glad to know that the Jamaat has come forward for this work and is trying to help out during this huge pandemic”.
Other notable dignitaries who have visited the hospital are state’s health minister Rajesh Tope, state unit president of Congress Party Nana Patole, Mayor of NMC Dayashankar Tiwari and local MLA.
Initiatives like this are a sending positive message about the Muslim community which of late has been at the receiving end given the communally surcharged atmosphere created by vested interests. National media, especially Hindi newspapers and TV channels, have given good coverage to the hospital.
Siddiqui said the hospital has drawn the attention of one and all. “A number of individuals and voluntary organisations run by non-Muslims are coming to us with donations and items like face masks, sanitisers and oxygen cylinders.”
The management committee of Nagpur’s Jama Masjid has declared that the weekly Friday collections at the mosque will be sent to the hospital as long as this facility continues.
The hospital has been launched with three months’ planning. That means it will run until the end of June. Siddiqui said his team is ready to extend it for three more months if need arises. Health experts are warning that a third wave of Covid is imminent. However, right now new cases are coming down. For the last five to six days, the hospital is receiving less number of patients. “For the first 45 days all the 78 beds were fully occupied. Now our occupancy is between 60 and 65,” he said.
While hospitals and clinics elsewhere faced shortage of oxygen cylinders, the Jamaat faced no such crisis. “We had bought 100 cylinders soon after the first wave. We were already refilling and supplying them to needy patients. Therefore, supply of oxygen to our hospital has never been an issue” he said.
The experience of running this temporary facility has made the organisers realize the need to have a regular hospital. “Once the Covid pandemic is over we will start working on a full-fledged hospital. Our community especially needs it direly,” Siddiqui said.