Dispur draws up plan to combat Covid-19
The Assam government will set up five pre-fabricated hospitals in the state to treat Covid-19 patients and convert the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) into a dedicated treatment centre for the disease.
Each of the five hospitals will have 300 beds with ICU facility and will be ready within two months.
Assam health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Friday said each hospital will cost Rs 40 crore to Rs 45 crore and will be able to run upto five years. He said the health department had identified Guwahati and Dibrugarh as two sites for these hospitals and the process of finalising the remaining three sites was on.
He said one of the hospitals would be built from the contributions of MPs, who have already started donating, and two from the one-day salaries of government employees, as promised by them.
The Sodou Asom Karmachari Parishad and teachers’ associations had on Thursday promised to donate one day’s salary, the sum of which will be around Rs 80 crore, to the government.
The government has decided not to take donation from the health department employees, respecting their sacrifice at this time of crisis.
Sarma said within 24 hours of making available the bank account number of Assam Arogya Nidhi (32124810101, SBI, IFSC Code: SBIN0010755), the government received a donation of Rs 1 crore from the people to combat coronavirus.
Altogether 277 samples were tested in four testing centres of the state till Thursday evening. All of them tested negative.
The government has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with 33 private hospitals in the city by which the latter have agreed to take the burden of all general patients to help the GMCH to function as a dedicated Covid-19 treatment centre.
Sarma said the validity of the MoU was two months and it would be reviewed depending on the situation.
“The GMCH will be shut down within 48 hours. The 750 patients undergoing treatment there will continue to be treated. The cancer hospital, which is a little away from the GMCH, will continue to run. The GMCH’s maternity ward will run till we get Covid-19 positive patients in the state. The emergency ward will also continue to run,” the minister said
Sarma said patients afflicted with other diseases would be able to get treated at private hospitals using their Ayushman Bharat and Atal Amrit cards. The government will reimburse the hospitals in 10 business days.
Sarma said if someone does not have cards of the two schemes, these would be immediately issued to them at Mahendra Mohan Choudhury Hospital and Ayushman Bharat office here.
“In emergency, the patients can take treatment first. The cards will be made available later,” he added.
Sarma said the Assam Medical College and Hospital in Dibrugarh and the Silchar Medical College and Hospital would also be converted into dedicated Covid-19 treatment centres. He said the health department would get 4,000 to 5,000 beds from all the three medical colleges to treat Covid-19 patients.
He said he “respectfully disagreed” to the demand of engaging retired doctors to treat Covid-19 patients as people above 60 years were vulnerable.
The 620 MBBS final year students in the state would be given seven days’ intensive training to treat Covid-19 patients. The final year students of nursing, dental and ayurvedic courses will also be engaged. A doctor will be kept in quarantine for 14 days after treating Covid-19 patients for seven days.
A family from Kaliabor in Nagaon district on Friday sent a letter to Sarma offering 10 bigha of land to set up a hospital for Covid-19 patients.