Gearing up to face any new surge in Covid cases or a third wave, the Centre has planned to quickly ramp up state health infrastructure by setting up 50 innovative modular hospitals across the country in the next two-three months.
Modular hospitals will be built adjacent to an existing hospital building as an extension of operational infrastructure. A 100-bedded modular hospital with a dedicated zone of Intensive Care Units can be set up at an estimated cost of nearly Rs 3 crore in three weeks and made fully operational in 6-7 weeks.
The project, initiated by the office of principal scientific adviser K Vijay Raghavan, will initially be implemented in state-run and philanthropic hospitals. These rapidly deployable hospitals are intended to plug a major health infrastructure gap in India’s fight against Covid, especially in rural areas and smaller towns.
“Any government hospital, having basic facilities such as electricity and water supply, and oxygen pipeline, will be eligible to have a modular hospital attached to it,” Aaditi Lele, member of the industry-academia collaboration division in the principal scientific adviser’s office said. “We have been in touch with state governments to identify the requirement, specifically in states where a higher number of cases are reported. We have also reached out to multiple partners to execute projects through corporate social responsibility support.”
The first batch of 100-bed modular hospitals will be commissioned in Bilaspur (Chhattisgarh); Amravati, Pune and Jalna (Maharashtra) and Mohali (Punjab), along with a 20-bed hospital in Raipur (Chhattisgarh). Bengaluru will have one each of 20, 50, and 100 beds in the first phase.
These hospitals can last around 25 years. They can also be dismantled and moved anywhere in less than a week. The design and concept — called MediCAB Hospitals — is by Modulus Housing, a start-up incubated in IIT Madras. The company has started deploying MediCAB extension hospitals with the help of the American Indian Foundation.
The government has also collaborated with Tata Projects Ltd to deploy modular hospitals at multiple sites in Punjab and Chhattisgarh.