St Xavier’s University will start an isolation-cum pre-hospitalisation centre on its campus for people in the vicinity who test positive for Covid-19 and lack facilities to isolate at home.
The facility, being set up in collaboration with Hidco, will be operational from May 10. It will have 20 beds, oxygen concentrators, oxygen cylinders, nebulisers, doctors and allied support.
The university has spoken to two private hospitals for the support of doctors and medical facilities.
Father Felix Raj, the vice-chancellor of the university in New Town, said that the idea behind starting the facility was to help the poor people of the neighbourhood who face health distress.
The poor villagers who stay in the neighbourhood don’t have the facilities to isolate themselves after they test positive for Covid, he said.
“They stay in rooms in close proximity to each other. It would not be prudent to expect that they can maintain physical distancing in such set ups. Then, given the financial conditions, hiring facilities like oxygen concentrators, oxygen cylinders, nebulisers, are beyond their reach. There is also a lack of information about the concept of home isolation,” Father Felix Raj told The Telegraph.
Most of the villagers are daily wage earners whose financial conditions have worsened in the pandemic.
The vice-chancellor approached the chairman of the New Town Kolkata Development Authority, Debashis Sen, with the idea of setting up the centre on Monday and sought logistical support. Sen said his office will provide all the support.
The local authorities will provide the university with data on the number of positive cases in the neighbourhood, a university official said.
The ground floor of the Arrupe Building — named after Fr. Arrupe — which is 3,000 sq ft in area, has been converted into the medical facility for Covid patients.
The building has library and research sections that are shut because students stopped going to the campus. The students have been attending classes on digital platforms since March last year as a precaution against Covid.
The university is functioning with 50 per cent staff strength.
What prompted them to start this facility on the campus?
“We cannot sit idle and be mute spectators to what is unfolding in our neighbourhood amid a raging pandemic. St Xavier’s University has always reached out to people in their hours of distress. At a time like this, those in our neighbourhood need a healthcare facility the most,” said Father Felix Raj.
He said the university will wall off the facility for the safety of the administrative staff who go for duty.
The university will deploy its own fleet of ambulances to transport the patients. Additional ambulances will be hired from private facilities.
“We have a doctor on call and two trained nurses. More will be engaged from the private hospitals the university is in touch with,” an official said.
G. P. Gupta, the liaison officer of the university, said that the doctors will monitor the patients’ condition and if necessary, recommend hospitalisation.
“We are starting with 20 beds but have plans to add more. Our alumni association is also helping us in this endeavour,” said Father Felix Raj.