At a time when viral infections are rampant, the BMC scheme Aapli Chikitsa under which people can get tested for diseases at a subsidised rate at civic-run dispensaries, maternity homes and peripheral hospitals has been put on ice. According to officials, services were started on March 6 but patients didn’t receive reports even after a week.

Later, civic-run dispensaries, maternity homes and peripheral hospitals requested people to get tested at private laboratories or BMC hospitals where in-house testing services are available. mid-day on March 16 visited a few clinics and hospitals seeking tests under the scheme but was informed by staff that the service was put on hold until further notice.

Under it, blood and pathology tests that are not available at BMC health facilities would be sent to the designated private lab, Krsnaa Diagnostics, to whom the tender was awarded. Under this scheme, doctors can send poor patients’ samples to the Aapli Chikitsa department established in the hospital for tests that are not done at their in-house pathology laboratory. According to civic officials, there are over 200 civic-run dispensaries, 16 maternity homes, and 16 peripheral hospitals across Mumbai.

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A notice announcing the absence of the Aapli Chikitsa service at VN Desai hospital

When this reporter visited dispensaries at Dahisar, Mumbai Central and Parel, he was told, “It’s been 10 days since the pathology service was put on hold. Many of the patients didn’t receive their reports. You can either go to a private lab or a BMC hospital.” The civic-run peripheral VN Desai hospital has put a public notice stating, “Krsnaa Laboratory services are temporarily unavailable till further notice.”

‘There’re delays’

On the condition of anonymity, a senior BMC health official said, “It has not been completely halted, but the results were coming after a week, and then too patients would not get all of them. We have written a letter to the service provider. Before this, Thyrocare was the provider and a patient would get a report in one or two days but the tender ended, and recently because of lower bidding, the contract was awarded to Krsnaa Diagnostics as per the rules. But it doesn’t seem that they are providing proper services.”

‘Will review’

When mid-day spoke Dr Sanjiv Kumar, additional municipal commissioner (health), he said, “We are corresponding with the service provider. We will review the matter and then decide the further course of action.” A senior doctor from the civic health department said, “Poor patients can’t afford private healthcare services. They approach nearby BMC hospitals. Pathology tests play important role in the diagnosis of diseases and based on them, treatment is given.

Tests have prognostic importance also. Some people require regular blood tests for monitoring and assessing pre-existing ailments. The BMC’s own laboratories are a complete failure due to a shortage of staff, laziness, dysfunctional machines and kits and reagents being out of stock most of the time. The flu is on the rise. In such conditions, the shutting down of the Aapli Chikitsa scheme is a big matter. The BMC must try to find a solution to the problem at the earliest.”

A cheap option

Under the scheme, tests are classified as basic and advanced. For the former, the patient has to pay Rs 50 while the BMC pays Rs 223 to the service provider. For the advanced one, the patient hands over Rs 100 and the civic body pays Rs 892. Now, while patients pay the same amount, the BMC has to pay Rs 86 and Rs 344 for basic and advanced tests. When mid-day reached out Krsnaa Diagnostics, they said they would reply to its queries.


No of civic-run dispensaries in city

2023-03-18T01:53:10Z dg43tfdfdgfd