The second wave of COVID-19 is reaching extremely alarming levels in India, with 329,942 daily new infections reported on May 10. MSF has scaled up its COVID intervention in Mumbai, in Maharashtra state, where the increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases have devastated the health care system and overwhelmed health care providers. Mumbai is a densely populated city, with almost 42 percent of the population living in low-income housing with poor hygiene facilities—putting them at very high risk of infection.
Health care workers are already stretched to their limits, and face increasing numbers of cases and people who need hospital beds. MSF is concerned about the risk of infection to health workers, which could further reduce India's capacity to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.
The scale of this crisis is too big for any single actor. Our teams are trying to identify where MSF can provide additional support, especially in areas where we have existing medical projects.
Caring for COVID-19 patients in Mumbai
The current surge in severe cases of COVID-19 has increased the number of people requiring hospitalization and oxygen therapy, which is why MSF is supporting dedicated COVID health centers in Mumbai. MSF doctors and nurses are working in the BKC jumbo hospital, which currently has two 1,000-bed wings for treating COVID-19 patients. We are collaborating with the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai to manage one of the dedicated Covid-19 health centers (DCHC). As of May 11, we had a team of 60 staff helping manage care for moderate and critical COVID-19 patients. The team includes anesthesia technicians, doctors, nurses, psychologists, and health educators.
The DCHC is divided into two units—phase one and phase two—each with 1,000 beds. In the phase one unit, we are managing observation and triage in six wards, which each have 28 beds where patients can receive oxygen. In the phase two unit, we are supporting four wards with 28 oxygen beds each.