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Maharashtra has sought Kerala's assistance in the management of COVID cases in Mumbai, requesting the southern state for 50 experienced doctors and 100 nurses.
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In a letter to Kerala Health Minister K K Shailaja, the Director of Medical Education & Research, Maharashtra, Dr T P Lahane has requested expert doctors and nurses for managing the 600-bed dedicated COVID-19 center being set up at Mumbai's Mahalakshmi Race Course. The letter says healthcare workers in Mumbai are working at full capacity and with the likelihood of COVID-19 cases rising in the densely populated cities of Mumbai and Pune, there is a need for more doctors and nurses.
The state has crossed 50,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 33,988 active cases. Six out of 10 of those cases are from Mumbai.
The request for these specialist doctors and nurses is temporary. Maharashtra has offered to pay the MBBS doctors Rs. 80,000 a month and Rs 2 lakh per month for MD/MS specialist doctors, which include physicians and intensivists. Trained nursing staff will be paid Rs 30,000 a month. The monetary remuneration will be in addition to accommodation, meals, required medicine and personal protective equipment which will be the responsibility of the state.
Dr T P Lahane confirmed to CNBC-TV18 that the letter has been sent, adding that it was still a request and nothing has been finalized.
"We need more specialist doctors, intensivists, anesthetists, in the city to manage the 600-bed Race Course facility. Mr Santosh Kumar from the social sector has been instrumental in initiating the dialogue," Dr Lahane told CNBC TV18. Santosh Kumar, VP-South Asia for the international not-for-profit agency Doctors without Borders has mediated the conversation.
Mumbai, which has seen the fastest rise in number of people infected with coronavirus, has been adding 1600-1700 positive cases daily. As of May 24, over 30,000 confirmed cases have been reported in the city. Mumbai's healthcare infrastructure is operating at full capacity across public and private COVID-19 centers.
The 600-bedded COVID Health Care Centre at Mahalakshmi Race Course in Mumbai also includes a 125 bedded ICU. Patients with moderate symptoms are being admitted at this COVID health care centre.
While the city's civic body has undertaken various steps to make available the requisite manpower, more doctors and nurses are required for the management of COVID-19 patients in Mumbai and Pune.
"Currently doctors and paramedical staff are working at full capacity," the letter said. Government of Maharashtra has also made available the services of private medical practitioners in the city by making a 15-day COVID service mandatory for young and healthy medical practitioners. However more support is needed. Doctors with co-morbidities and those above the age of 55 year were exempt from this order. Mumbai has nearly 25000 registered medical practitioners.