Varanasi: Consequent upon the second Covid-19 wave in the country, there was a surge in corona cases across Varanasi and there was acute shortage of hospital oxygen beds and COVID treatment facilities in the city.
Accordingly, on 19 April 2021, the district administration put-up a proposal to convert Homi Bhabha Cancer hospital into a COVID centre for the treatment of COVID patients. Considering the situation and request from local administration, Dr. Satyajit Pradhan, Director, Homi Bhabha Cancer Hospital and Mahamana Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya Cancer Centre (HBCH & MPMMCC) with overwhelming support from doctors, nursing and other support staff decided to start COVID treatment facility without compromising in the ongoing treatment of cancer patients in Homi Bhabha Cancer Hospital & Mahamana Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya Cancer Centre. Dr. BK Mishra, Dy. Director, HBCH was appointed as Officer In-charge and Dr. Aseem Mishra, Associate Professor, Surgical Oncology, HBCH & MPMMCC was appointed as Nodal Officer of the COVID Centre.
All the OPDs and IPDs for Paediatric cancer patients were shifted to MPMMCC and other services like Radiation, Laboratory services and Radio diagnostic services continued at HBCH for COVID and cancer patient. Doctors, nursing, paramedical and other support staffs volunteered to serve in COVID Centre in addition of providing cancer care at MPMMCC. The Divisional Commissioner, District Magistrate, Municipal Commissioner, Chief Medical Officer and other administrative authorities of Varanasi have been continuously supporting the hospital to run the facility. The district administration has provided nursing staff and 27 ventilators for the COVID-19 facility. The NDRF Battalion, Varanasi has also deputed their personnel at HBCH and they are working in coordination with the hospital staff. Till date over 472 critical COVID patients have been treated at HBCH COVID Centre, out of these 263 were only COVID patients while 209 patients had Cancer + COVID. From march 2020 to February 2021 total 141 covid patients were treated while this year from march to till date we have treated 472 patients.
The significant activities started after March 2021 during the second wave of COVID. The HBCH was converted into a 100 bedded L2/L3 facility on the request of the district administration to add to the number of covid beds in Varanasi. The entire cancer facilities from HBCH were shifted to MPMMCC for segregation and infection control. Hence, now uninterrupted cancer care as well as COVID care is being provided by TMC Varanasi.
In view of high demand of oxygen for COVID infected patient in India, Dr. R.A. Badwe, Director, Tata Memorial Centre (TMC), Mumbai took initiative in this regard and with help from prominent overseas donors TMC received more than 3000 oxygen concentrators. Director TMC and director Tata Memorial Hospital (TMH) have decided to provide oxygen concentrators to Homi Bhabha Cancer Hospital, Varanasi which will be given to district administration for better management of COVID.
In first wave of covid, total 150 staff were tested positive for covid but since the onset of Second COVID wave in the India, over 452 hospital staff including doctors, nursing, paramedical have been infected with COVID-19. Most of the staff have recovered well and already joined duty. Some of the COVID positive doctors and nursing officers have been voluntarily serving in COVID ward while themselves undergoing treatment. Dr. Durgatosh Pandey, Dy. Director, MPMMCC and Dr. Aseem Mishra, Associate Professor actively treated COVID patients while admitted for COVID treatment in the COVID ward.
To support the treatment of COVID patients who are admitted in HBCH COVID Centre, many HBCH & MPMMCC Officials and staff voluntarily donated their one day’s salary. This financial support will be utilized for providing medicines and other infrastructure to the COVID patients at HBCH.