New isolation facility, advanced lab to be set up in Kasturba Hospital

BMC allocates ₹7 crore to construct new building

To counter the threat of novel coronavirus (nCoV) and emergence of new infectious pathogens, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to build a new state-of-the-art isolation facility and an advanced laboratory at Kasturba Hospital in Chinchpokli.

The civic body made an initial allocation of ₹2 crore in its Budget on Tuesday. The BMC plans to increase the allocation to spruce up the isolation facility over two years.

Kasturba Hospital is a dedicated infectious diseases hospital with a 28-bed isolation facility, which was set up during the H1N1 outbreak in 2009. The facility is a simple ward with open ventilation and lacks an air handling unit, a negative pressure room with air conditioning, high-efficiency particulate air filters, and ultraviolet lights.

Additional municipal commissioner Suresh Kakani said, “One of the wards in the hospital is in a dilapidated condition. We plan to demolish it and construct a ground-plus-three-storey structure.” The BMC has allocated ₹7 crore to construct the new building, which will have 145 beds and negative pressure rooms.

He said, “The rooms will also have televisions and internet connection as patients who are quarantined often feel alone and restless.” The BMC is in talks with experts from the Central government and the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune.

In 2007, the hospital had set up a polymerase chain reaction laboratory, which is equipped to test H1N1 and acute febrile illnesses such as leptospirosis, dengue and malaria. Before the lab was set up, samples had to be sent to NIV or a laboratory in Port Blair. The

BMC now plans to equip the laboratory with a testing facility for nCoV. “The initial budget of ₹2 crore will cover some of the equipment required to upgrade the laboratory,” said Mr. Kakani.

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Printable version | Apr 8, 2020 1:54:34 PM |

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