« No one was ready for the second wave. It caught everybody by surprise. In a very short time, it’s turned into a major crisis. The authorities here are well-organised and are adapting to the situation as it evolves as best they can. But as the cases increase, it’s getting harder to find beds. They’re calling from hospital to hospital trying to refer patients, but they’re struggling. », says Mabel Morales, MSF’s Medical Co-ordinator in Mumbai.
Daily new infections across the country have reached a peak of over 200,000 in a single day, with a whopping 115.736 new cases reported in Maharashtra state on a single day on 16 April.
MSF has mobilised 60 staff and is in the process of recruiting and sending additional teams with COVID experience. We have deployed doctors, nurses, anaesthesia technicians and psychologists to support BKC hospital (also called Jumbo Hospital) in Mumbai, a 2000 bed facility, divided into two phases of 1000 beds, treating moderate to severe COVID-19 patients.
Doctors and nurses are completely overwhelmed and overall access to health care is compromised
Daniela Garone, MSF medical responsible
"Imagine a thousand-bed hospital, there’s 28 wards as well as the emergency, casualty and triage areas. It’s a makeshift hospital in a huge metal tent. I’ve never seen anything like it. This is the second week of our emergency project. Last week, we had about 200 to 250 new patients admitted every day" says Gautam Hari Govind, MSF’s Medical Activity Manager in Mumbai.
The current surge in severe cases of COVID-19 has increased the number of people requiring hospitalization and oxygen therapy, which is why MSF has begun supporting dedicated COVID health centers in Mumbai.
“Doctors and nurses are completely overwhelmed and overall access to health care is compromised. With the increasing number of cases and demand for hospital beds, it is likely that the health system will be further stretched.There is an immediate need to increase access to oxygen and quality management of patients. Our teams are also working hard to strengthen infection, prevention and control measures." said Daniela Garone, MSF medical responsible.
ENSURING ACCESS TO CARE FOR OTHER PATIENTS
“For patients with lung complications from tuberculosis, there are concerns that they may deteriorate faster. We’re also worried that people may not be accessing TB care because they are scared and worry about what will happen if they get COVID-19.", Aparna Iyer, MSF’s Project Medical Referent.
A very important part of our intervention is ensuring continuity of care to 950 DRTB patients at Shatabdi hospital outpatient department project and 114 at the MSF Independent Clinic. MSF scaling up screening, shielding, testing and referral activities at the hospital Shatabdi, in the community and at 9 health posts.
CASE IDENTIFICATION AND PREVENTION ACTIVITIES
The city is densely populated with almost 42 percent of the population living in low-income housing with poor hygiene facilities which put them at a very high risk of infections.
MSF’s health promotion teams have also re-started digital health promotion and water and sanitation activities in M-East Ward (MEW) of Mumbai as well as providing infection, prevention control information and distributing hygiene kits including masks.