The pandemic control strategy of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has helped Mumbai battle the strongest ever onslaught of the COVID-19 infection. Famed as the 'Mumbai Model', this laudable strategy is a multi-pronged approach to counter the coronavirus spike. A combination defence lineup, the model effectively hampered the uptick of case tallies from 12,000 a day to less than 2,000 in just over a month, following the 5Ts of healing - testing, tracing, treatment, teamwork and tracking to its benefit.
Key characteristics of the 'Mumbai Model'
An effective control strategy of the BMC Municipal Commissioner and his team of vigilant officers helped to dissipate the COVID-19 scare by the force of a high-impact COVID-19 defence strategy. The efficacy of this expansive yet extremely detailed Mumbai Model has been acknowledged by the Supreme Court as well, and can be used as a prototype approach across India to get over the coronavirus scourage.
Setting up War Rooms
Special war rooms were established across all 24 municipal wards in the MMR. These were equipped with 10 phone connections each and were devised to work as decentralised control centres. Patients in each ward could reach out to their respective war rooms, that looked after the necessary aid, right from the testing to initial treatment along with ambulance and hospitalisation.
These also helped the BMC to monitor the patients in home isolation. The communication officers kept a track of their symptoms and were awarded with the authority to make quick decision in case of emergencies.
Provisional Ambulance service
In a bid to ferry an increased load of patient to hospitals and COVID-19 care centres, about 800 SUVs were refurbished as provisional ambulances in Mumbai. These were designed with a partition between the driver and the travelling patient to ensure the containment of spread.
Taxi aggregator, Uber, also provided the BMC with its backend technology to keep a track of these make-shift ambulance, closest to the patient.
Mobilisation of Medical Staff
As per reports, several junior doctors and nurses from various districts, with lower cases were mobilised to the hotspots in Mumbai. This created an additional fleet of healthcare officials rather swiftly in the city. These new convoys were deployed at district hospitals and AC war rooms to cater to the rising patient load.
Similarly, doctors preparing for postgraduation entrance exams, final year medical students and even hospital interns along with BSc. qualified nurses were inducted into the healthcare constabulary to fight the COVID-19 surge. This helped to relieve the burden on the already stretch medical infrastructure in Mumbai.
With rising numbers came in the high demand of medical supplies and the life-saving Remdesivir injections. Here, the proactive vision of the BMC helped to ensure Remdesivir shots for all. BMC ordered the drug at 3 times its cost to keep up the supply amid the hour of crisis. This eliminated the chances of any lag, boosting quicker treatment and consequently, ramped-up delivery.
Appropriate use of Oxygen
Of all the aids required for COVID-19 treatment, the need of liquid medical oxygen (LMO) escalated rather quickly. Immediately, LMO was catered to the city with the help of Indian Railways Oxygen Express. The industrial oxygen supplies were also diverted to meet the medical emergency, immediately.
However, the city was able to cut down in its overall need for the oxygen by stopping the use of High-Flow Nasal Oxygen machines which require more oxygen. These units were replaces by non-invasive ventilators which assured LMO supply for all.
Allotment of beds via a central dashboard
Treatment beds across the MMR were allotted only via the BMC's central dashboard. All hospitals across the city were warned to not provide any bed without consultation with the civic body. This helped the BMC to award beds based on the severity of the viral load and the chances of recovery among patients, unlike the first-come, first-serve concept.
Besides this, about 80% of the beds at around 172 private hospitals in Mumbai were also under the BMC's authority and were allocated via the central common dashboard.
Big auditoriums and fields were converted into jumbo and field hospitals in several wards in Mumbai. These centres were equipped to cater to up to 500 to 2000 patients at one time. This increased bed availability in Mumbai amid an acute shortage of hospital beds.
Reportedly, these were constructed overnight and were equipped with all essential facilities, right from ICU beds to ventilators and even oxygen beds. Additional structures were also erected to provide about 65,000 beds for isolation.
Special teams were employed to supervise and check that all requirements were facilitated well and were being met as per expectations. These 'Crisis Teams' monitored hospitals catering to critical patients and their needs.
From oxygen supplies to other amenities and even transfer of patients was managed by this group. Supplies were arranged as per forecasts to sustain the medical and treatment systems.
The 'Mumbai Model' has been defined as a sound management system of resources and supplies amid the present-day shortage. It has proved its grit and can be deployed, with on-ground adjustments, in the virus-hit regions of the country to dissipate the COVID scare.