Saturday, June 27, 2009

Maternity hospitals of Mumbai

Mumbai has a multitude of nursing homes. And several five star hospitals. And several government run hospitals. These are not at all appropriate in today's age and time.
If a middle class woman wants to have a baby, she can hardly afford Breach candy, Leelavati, Jaslok, Bombay hospital, Hiranandani, Wockhardt unless she can shell out Rs.40,000 or more for a normal delivery with a private room and an experienced gynaecologist. and these may be too far from her residence. If she needs a caesarean then it may go to Rs.75,000 to a lakh and a half-which is the main deterrent. She can hardly expect to be comfortable and rested if she shares a room with one to three other women in these hospitals if she needs or wants a hospital delivery but can't afford a single room.
Nor can she go to a municipal hospital or semi aided hospital for worries about overcrowding and infection.
So, she settles for a nursing home.-a mom and pop kind of place. where it may take up precious time if she needs a caesarean, blood, neonatologist, physician, surgeon or intensive care.
similar is the case for all middle class people even if they have insurance, but can't afford hospitals and have to settle for nursing homes.
Doctors too find this 'nursing home' set up restrictive. they cannot treat all the cases they may be qualified for and may not get an attachment to a large hospital due to lack of the right connections. it is also outright dangerous in some instances.
So what is the solution? simple. 'Cluster development'. instead of four nursing homes and path labs and bloods banks in four streets, have them in one place. with quarters for nurses, resident doctors, anaesthetists etc., an intensive care unit, a blood bank-the works. this is the logic behind co-operative farming.
The government should also step in and help such hospitals to develop-allotting land and giving permission for water, electricity etc. this will greatly benefit ordinary people and doctors. and solve a major problem we face in Mumbai today. This is how medicine is practised all over the world. Doctors are attached to hospitals-one in every locality.
Even small towns in India have large hospitals because real estate is affordable. not so in Mumbai. Hence Mumbai lags behind.
Everyone talks of rural health forgetting that we need an urban health policy that helps the middle class.
people are talking of 'fortune at the bottom of the pyramid'. This is a huge market waiting to be tapped in Mumbai.-a reasonably priced, multispeciality hospital in your locality with the best doctors of the area. And above all they should not neglect expectant mothers just because it is considered a risky business or not very lucrative like most of the newer hospitals in Mumbai.