Maharashtra: Doctors from southern states start flying in

Two Kerala doctors arrived in Mumbai on Friday, a week after Maharashtra requested the southern state to send in specialists to bolster its fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. Over the next few days, around 50 specialists and 100 nurses from four other southern states—Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana—too will arrive in batches to help the overwhelmed city hospitals.

On Friday, Dr Santosh Kumar, vicepresident of Doctors Without Borders, and anaesthetist Dr Sajeesh Gopalan arrived from Kerala and took a tour of SevenHills Hospital in Marol, where they will start work from Saturday.

The state had requested Kerala for doctors and nurses to work at the jumbo facility coming up at Mahalaxmi Race Course. A decision, though, has now been taken to post these doctors at Seven-Hills Hospital, where the BMC plans to multiply ICU beds from 68 to 300. Dr Kumar said several private doctors from these states have agreed to come to Mumbai, currently the country’s worst-hit city. “We hope by Wednesday all should be here. People are still finalizing their travel logistics,” said Dr Kumar, who will be handholding the medicos. They will get a closer look at the workings of Seven-Hills—the city’s largest Covid facility.

Dr T P Lahane, head of the Directorate of Medical Education and Research, in his letter to Kerala health minister K K Shailaja, had stated that specialists will be paid Rs.2 lakh, MBBS doctors Rs.80,000 and nurses Rs.30,000. The remuneration of these doctors will be borne by the BMC, he said. The doctors are likely to be in Mumbai for at least two months.

The 830-bed SevenHills, said Dr Balkrishna Adsul, in-charge of the centre, currently has 163 doctors, of whom 125 work in the wards and the rest in ICUs and high dependency units. “We have a grave need for doctors and nurses. We need more than double of what we have. Besides the group of doctors coming from the south, we have also advertised online and are interviewing candidates every day,” he said. The hospital that has 780 patients is running the show with 429 nurses, 125 of whom are nursing students.

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