Rotary opens a 300-bed Covid centre in Bengaluru

With a spurt in Covid cases in Bengaluru and its suburbs, RID 3190 has set up a 300-bed Covid Care Centre at Basaveshwara Bus Terminus in Peenya, an industrial hub, in partnership with Prakriya Hospitals and Nayonika Eye Care Trust. Titan Company is the funding partner in this project with a contribution of ₹93 lakh.

Karnataka State Deputy CM Laxman Savadi inaugurating the Covid care centre in the presence of DG B L Nagendra Prasad (second from R) and Project ­Chairman S Jayaraman (fourth from R)
Karnataka State Deputy CM Laxman Savadi inaugurating the Covid care centre in the presence of DG B L Nagendra Prasad (second from R) and Project ­Chairman S Jayaraman (fourth from R)

Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) has given space at its unused bus terminus at Peenya for setting up this 30,000 sqft-centre to treat asymptomatic patients and those with mild Covid symptoms. Named the Rotary Advika Nayonika Covid Care Centre, this is a makeshift hospital set up in accordance with government guidelines to manage Covid patients with mild symptoms, said S Jayaraman, Director, Disease Prevention, RID 3190. He had mooted the idea of such a Covid centre under a public-private partnership with Rotary providing support infrastructure such as PPE kits, medical supplies and consumables.

In the first phase, the Rotary Covid centre will have 200 beds and “we will add another 100 beds if the number of cases increase and the demand goes up,” he said.

The spadework

When Jayaraman and his district team were exploring avenues to provide Covid care to people with cases rising ­exponentially in ­Bengaluru, they  shortlisted two things for urgent attention — “a place to set up a facility and a ­medical partner to ­diagnose and treat patients.” A chance meeting with S B Prashanth from Nayonika Eye Care Trust opened up an opportunity, as this Trust has been holding regular camps for the KSRTC bus crew, staff and management. They were able to use their clout with KSRTC to get the required space at the bus terminus at Peenya. With Prakriya Hospitals, hardly 1km away from the centre, expressing its willingness to join as medical partner, the partnership materialised.

If patients need hospital care, Prakriya Hospitals will admit them at its multispecialty unit at ­Nagasandra. “This Covid centre will have full-time nurses, doctors, attenders, housekeeping staff, maintenance and security teams,” said Jayaraman. An ambulance will ferry the patients to and from the centre. Nutritious food is being served to patients who are provided clean toilets and other facilities.

Titan MD donates ₹40 lakh for a Rotary project

Project Chair S Jayaraman approached Titan Company AVP and Head of Corporate Sustainability N E Sridhar with a two-fold objective — to get CSR funding for the Covid centre and to sponsor the RT-PCR (real-time polymerase chain reaction) equipment worth ₹40 lakh at NIMHANS. “Though it takes more than 24 hours to get the testing done through RT-PCR, the results are accurate and very reliable. In the immediate future, if the testing load increases we can rely on this equipment,” he said.

Titan MD Venkatraman wanted to know more about the RT-PCR testing and he had a long phone conversation with Dr Manjunath at NIMHANS. After the telecon, the Titan head honcho was “so impressed by the efficacy of this machine that in three days, approved CSR funding for the project.” But there was a small twist. Jayaraman was expecting a call from Titan about the CSR funding but to his dismay, Sridhar, Assistant VP, informed him over phone:

“Our MD does not want to use CSR funds for the RT-PCR.” A dejected Jayaraman’s heart was about to skip a beat, but then he heard the magic words, “he wants to provide this ₹40 lakh from his personal funds.”

PPE kits are provided to doctors and paramedics working at this centre which has an emergency ward and a 10-bed ICU sponsored by Titan Company. While 50 per cent of the beds are set aside for KSRTC and Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation staff and their families for free treatment, 10 per cent of beds are reserved for patients referred by Rotary and Titan. “The patients will be charged government-indicated rates. We hope to reach out to the poor and needy through this centre,” said Jayaraman.

As of now, the Covid centre will function for three months, and it can be extended by another six months, if the cases don’t abate by that time, he said. The Bangalore Indiranagar Rotary Trust is in receipt of the CSR amount from Titan and entrusted with the task of financial management of the project, while Rotary Bangalore Peenya, the home club of DG B L Nagendra Prasad, will provide medical infrastructure like cots, wheelchairs, oxygen cylinders, ICU monitors, beds, PPE kits, etc. “We have installed corona test equipment (RT-PCR) at NIMHANS and ₹40 lakh for its purchase was given by Titan CMD C K Venkatraman from his personal funds,” he said. Arun Belur, district secretary, said that  in the first two days four patients were admitted and the “number is bound to increase manifold as Covid cases rise.”

From L: DG Nagendra Prasad; Deputy CM Laxman Savadi;  Rtn ­Srinivasamurthy;  Shivayogi C Kalasad, managing director,  KSRTC; district secretary Arun Belur and Dr Srinivas Chirukuri,  CEO, Prakriya ­Hospitals at the centre.
From L: DG Nagendra Prasad; Deputy CM Laxman Savadi; Rtn Srinivasamurthy; Shivayogi C Kalasad, managing director, KSRTC; district secretary Arun Belur and Dr Srinivas Chirukuri, CEO, Prakriya  Hospitals at the centre.

Past president Manoj Agarwal from Rotary Bangalore Indiranagar said this Covid centre has “received good traction from the local ­residents at Peenya.” Karnataka Deputy CM Laxman Savadi inaugurated the Covid facility in the presence of DG ­Nagendra Prasad and district Rotary leaders.

Ripple effect

While the district clubs are active in providing Covid-relief in the form of food packets, sanitisers and PPE kits, “we wanted to do something that is permanent and opens up opportunities for Rotarians to do selfless service,” said DG Prasad. He had instructed his district clubs to contribute in both cash and kind to this makeshift Covid unit and “we have starting receiving donations from across the state.”

During the inaugural of a revamped PHC at Madiwala, “health officials, after hearing the good response to our Covid centre, has asked us to build a regular hospital at the Karnataka State Police Reserve Grounds, which we will be taking up soon,” he added.

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