Hyderabad: At a time when a dramatic surge in Covid-19 cases is pushing up the demand for ICU and oxygen-line beds in Telangana, Express found that the public health infrastructure in the State is not only ramshackle, but also woefully inadequate to handle the onslaught of cases.
As of now, there is not even a single vacant ICU bed in Gandhi Hospital or TIMS, Gachibowli, and more than 50 per cent of the oxygen beds in both these medical facilities are already occupied.
There are only 20 District Hospitals in the State, excluding the one in Hyderabad at Koti, and they have a combined strength of just 254 ICU beds and 1,161 oxygen beds, as per the Telangana government’s own data on bed availability.Three of these District Hospitals, namely Bhupalpally, Narayanpet and Narsampet (Warangal Rural district), do not have a single ICU bed.
Even if all the available ICU beds in Area Hospitals, Community Health Centres and General Hospitals located in the 32 districts, excluding hospitals in Hyderabad and the TIMS, Gachibowli, are taken into account, they add up only to 900 ICU beds and 2,300 oxygen beds.
As per the State government data, there are 2,220 ICU beds and 6,371 oxygen beds in Telangana. This means that only around 40 per cent of all ICU beds and 36 per cent of oxygen beds are meant for serving the population living outside Hyderabad. The problem does not seem to be of quantity, but of quality as well.
The low bed occupancy in the District Hospitals, despite a rapid surge in cases, raises questions over the capability and quality of medical care in these hospitals, as only 97 of the 254 ICU beds (38 per cent) and 633 of the 1,161 oxygen beds (54 per cent) are occupied in the 18 District Hospitals. This is at a time when all of the 619 ICU beds in Gandhi Hospitals, 137 ICU beds at TIMS, Gachibowli, are occupied.