Health

After the COVID-19 pandemic, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) prioritised healthcare infrastructure in Mumbai. In 2022-23, BMC allocated Rs 6933.75 crore for the health budget, marking a 46% increase from the previous year (2021-22). BMC increased the share of the total budget dedicated to health up to 15%, the highest in the decade. Moreover, BMC invested Rs 2660.65 crore for health capital expenditure, more than doubling the prior year's allocation. These funds were primarily focused on completing delayed hospital redevelopment projects, upgrading dispensaries and maternity homes, procuring medical equipment, and expanding health infrastructure across the city.  Health actual budget expenditure…

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A family of professional singers disguise themselves to take their loved one, a young girl with mental illness, for treatment in the psychiatric hospital. Such is the stigma of mental health disorders. While this was decades ago, the perception of such disorders has changed for the better, over the years. As she narrates this incident, Dr R Padmavathi, Director of Schizophrenia Research Foundation (SCARF), a premium non-governmental organisation in mental health care in Chennai, says while healthcare delivery has made great strides, we still have a long way to go in awareness and overcoming stigma about mental disorders.      According…

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"I found it challenging to adhere to the doctors' instructions due to the constant rotation of different doctors during each visit. It led to confusion in managing my hyperactive daughter, who tends to become angry quickly," said Kavita Shinde, a resident of Dahisar in Mumbai. Kavita's 8-year-old daughter Hansika has been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and has visited B.Y.L Nair Hospital, Mumbai Central in Mumbai for treatment for the past three years.  Kavita was relieved after she moved to the recently established Early Intervention and Rehabilitation Centre for Children at Byculla. She has been consistently meeting the…

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It has been three years since M Sangeetha, a 25-year-old resident of Nanganallur delivered a girl at the Government Kasturba Gandhi Hospital for Women and Children in Chennai. Sangeetha is entitled to benefits under the Dr Muthulakshmi Reddy Maternity Benefit Scheme (Dr MRMBS)-Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY), which provides cash benefits of ₹14,000 and health kits worth ₹4,000 to pregnant women in instalments.  Despite multiple enquiries with the Nanganallur Urban Primary Health Centre (UPHC), Sangeetha has not been able to access the benefits, even after submitting her address proof and supplementary documents. Her husband, a delivery agent, earns just…

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The Tamil Nadu government mandates that expectant mothers register their pregnancies for two significant reasons: first, to enable economically underprivileged women to access monetary benefits through a state-central government shared scheme, and second, to facilitate the issuance of a birth certificate for the newborn. Since January 2018, pregnancy registrations have become compulsory in Chennai, driven by the Government's goal of reducing the maternal mortality ratio through consistent monitoring of pregnant women's health, said Dr M Thangamani, a gynaecologist.  A crucial aspect of the registration process is a unique Reproductive and Child Health Identity Number (RCH ID) that is issued to…

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In a recent incident, a cab driver who went to drop off passengers at the Chennai International Airport started coughing abnormally. He suddenly vomited blood and collapsed on the driveway. The security guards, who were on duty during that time immediately alerted the medical team at the airport, which did a quick examination and stabilised the patient. He was later sent to the Government General Hospital in Chrompet in the ambulance stationed at the Chennai Airport. "We not only attend to the emergency medical cases of the passengers inside the terminals but also attend to all such cases in the…

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Amid a rise in COVID-19 cases attributed to the novel variant JN.1 of the virus, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) plans to escalate COVID-19 testing during the festive season. Despite the increase in COVID-19 cases, the positivity rate in Mumbai remains below 5%. Dr Sudhakar Shinde, additional commissioner of BMC, told Citizen Matters that the situation is well under control and no restrictions will be imposed. The BMC clarified that the city has not identified any cases of the JN.1 variant so far. According to BMC's data, as of December 24, Mumbai had a total of 77 COVID-19 positive cases…

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In light of the rise in COVID-19 cases, due to the new JN.1 subvariant in Kerala, the Karnataka Health Department issued an advisory on December 19th. In view of upcoming Christmas and New Year celebrations, and the expected crowding in closed spaces, the general public has been advised to comply with the following measures in this advisory issued by Randeep D, the Commissioner of Health and Family Welfare Services: All elderly (60 years and above), co-morbid (particularly with kidney, heart, liver ailments etc.), pregnant women and lactating mothers, when outdoor shall wear face masks, and strictly avoid visiting closed, poorly…

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Tayappa Dhangar, who is 41 and lives in Andheri, needs heart valve replacement surgery. He works as waste picker and is eligible for the indigent patient scheme under a charitable trust hospital. However, a well-known charitable trust hospital in South Mumbai has refused to perform the surgery free of cost.  The hospital provided a surgery cost estimate of around Rs 15 lakh, with assistance limited to only two lakh rupees. Tayappa, who earns a daily wage of Rs 300, does not know how to gather the remaining Rs 13 lakh for the surgery. Tayappa's situation is not unique. Many individuals…

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Nilesh Jadhav, a 28-year-old resident of Dharavi in Mumbai, viral fever and cold in the last week of October. Though he recovered from the initial infection within two days, he had persistent dry cough from the third day post-recovery.  Nilesh says, "While the cough was initially tolerable, it gradually worsened, sometimes causing chest pain due to prolonged bouts of coughing." Nilesh tried various remedies, including allopathy and Ayurveda, but none completely relieved his cough. It took nearly 15 days for Nilesh to overcome this lingering cough and regain complete respiratory comfort. Malan Adsul, a 43-year-old resident of Navi Mumbai, had…

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