The decision of the state government to convert the Sub-District Hospital (SDH) at Ponda to a full-fledged Covid-19 hospital has received major upheaval from local communities around the district. Health Minister, Vishwajit Rane announced this decision after a series of meetings with senior doctors and officials from the state health department. The same will be commissioned within 48 hours he said.
After the significant rise in cases across the state, the lone COVID-ESI hospital that has been handling the significantly serious cases of Covid-19 since the beginning of the pandemic has been filled to its capacity. Accordingly, a temporary ward was created at the Goa Medical College (GMC), Bambolim to admit patients that needed care and couldn’t be accommodated at the ESI hospital.
“After a joint consultation with the Chief Minister Pramod Sawant and other officials, the government has decided to declare the sub-district hospital as the second COVID hospital,” health minister Vishwajit Rane said, adding that the existing patients will be transferred to other facilities, either GMC or North Goa District hospital and due arrangements will be made for the same.
Chief Minister Pramod Sawant also tweeted, “To ensure that best of healthcare facilities are made available for the people in the state and to further strengthen our fight against coronavirus pandemic, the Sub District Hospital at Ponda is being converted into a full-fledged #COVID19 Hospital.”
To ensure that best of healthcare facilities are made available for the people in the state and to further strengthen our fight against coronavirus pandemic, the Sub District Hospital at Ponda is being converted into a full fledged #COVID19 Hospital.
— Dr. Pramod Sawant (@DrPramodPSawant) August 9, 2020
However, many locals have questioned this move as they say the government has failed to take local representation into account before arriving at this decision.
Madkai MLA Ramkrishna (Sudin) Dhavlikar questioned this decision, which he claims will hinder medical treatment for over 3.5 lakh people across Ponda, Dharbandora, and Sattari talukas. He also made it clear that he isn’t opposing any COVID facility in the area.
“It is wrong to say I am protesting setting up of COVID facility in Ponda. If that were the case, I would not have allowed COVID care centers in Farmagudi. I have taken an issue with the state government taking such a decision without t consulting anyone from the area. Hundreds depend on the hospital for basic treatment. The OPD sees a rush of cases every day, where will these people go now,” he said.
Many locals have also expressed dissatisfaction towards this decision, primarily because of lack of sufficient medical arrangements put in place for other general medical requirements such as OPD’s for the district and neighbouring areas.
Akhil Sawant, a resident of Ponda said, “The main reason why there’s an oppose to convert the entire SDH into covid hospital is because hundreds of people belonging to low-income groups visit the SDH for treatment. Has the government provided the substitute for SDH after its designation as a full-fledged covid hospital or the people will have to go all the way to GMC?”
Another local also raised similar apprehensions as to where would people get any basic treatment if needed, because the option of GMC doesn’t satisfy many, simply considering the travel distance.
Chief Minister Pramod Sawant however, said today, that the health care facilities for the public at SDH Ponda will be shifted to DILASA centre at Farmagudi.
The new covid hospital at Ponda – a much-needed breather for the grappling ESI hospital – will handle all antenatal patients, including those currently at ESI. Also, within the next ten days, all departments from Hospicio will be shifted to the new South District hospital, and the former will be commissioned too for covid patients.