India: The devastating COVID-19 second wave pushing healthcare provision to the limits in Mumbai

The second wave of COVID-19 is reaching extremely alarming levels in India.  MSF recently scaled up its intervention in Mumbai, Maharashtra, where the increasing numbers of cases have been devastating to the healthcare system and overwhelming for all healthcare providers. 

MSF has mobilised 60 staff and is in the process of recruiting and sending additional teams with COVID experience. We have deployed doctors, nurses, anaesthesia technicians and psychologists to support BKC hospital (also called Jumbo Hospital) in Mumbai, a 2000 bed facility, divided into two phases of 1000 beds, treating moderate to severe COVID-19 patients. 

The current surge in severe cases of COVID-19 has increased the number of people requiring hospitalization and oxygen therapy, which is why MSF has begun supporting dedicated COVID health centers in Mumbai. Human resources are stretched to the maximum and with the increasing number of cases and those in need of hospital beds, it is likely that the health system will be further stretched. There is a need to increase access to timing oxygen and quality management of patients under a highly challenged health system.  

MSF is also worried about vulnerable populations and people with other illnesses, such as diabetes, HIV and/or tuberculosis and their ability to access medical care, including oxygen therapy. A very important part of our intervention is ensuring continuity of care to 950 DRTB patients at Shatabdi hospital outpatient department project and 114 at the MSF Independent Clinic. We are scaling up screening, shielding, testing and referral activities at the hospital, in the community and at 9 health posts. 

MSF's health promotion teams have also re-started digital health promotion and water and sanitation activities in M-East Ward (MEW) of Mumbai as well as providing infection, prevention control information and distributing hygiene kits including masks.  The city is densely populated with almost 42 percent of the population living in low-income housing with poor hygiene facilities which put them at a very high risk of infections. 

How can I help the COVID-19 crisis in India or anywhere in the world?
MSF has launched an emergency medical response in Mumbai, India, providing staff, expertise and life-saving supplies during the COVID-19 crisis.

We’ve been able to move quickly because of the unique way we are funded – by people like you, making donations that aren’t limited to one specific event. This means we don’t need to start a fundraising campaign before we can help – we use flexible “unrestricted” funds to act fast and save lives, now.

Please support our global response. If the crisis escalates in India or anywhere in the world, your unrestricted donation will mean that our emergency teams are ready for whatever comes next.