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COVID-19: AN OPPORTUNITY TO STRENGTHEN TERTIARY HEALTHCARE INFRASTRUCTURE IN INDIA




COVID-19 has exposed the glaring shortages of Critical Care infrastructure in the private and public healthcare system in India. This also includes the Armed Forces Medical Services Hospitals which do not have an adequate number of critical care beds.


COVID health crisis is expected to stay with us for some time to come. The response to the pandemic creates an opportunity to bring about changes in India’s health policy. We need to bring the best in class technology in the healthcare sector with a focus on tertiary care. India’s dependence on imports of medical equipment etc should be reduced and we should create domestic manufacturing capacity. This would also aid in India’s economic recovery.


Healthcare is one of India’s largest sectors - both in terms of revenue and employment. The hospital industry in India is forecasted to increase to Rs 8.6 trillion by FY2022.


Tertiary Health Care

Tertiary Health care refers to a third level of health system, in which super specialized care is provided usually on referral from primary and secondary medical care. Specialised Intensive Care Units, advanced diagnostic support services and specialized medical personnel on the key features of tertiary health care. In India, tertiary care service is provided by medical colleges and advanced medical institutes and tertiary care hospitals. Approximately 25-30% beds in tertiary care hospitals are critical care beds.


Critical Care Bed

A typical Critical Care bed in an Intensive Care setting in a tertiary care hospital has the following:-


  • Space requirements 14 square metre per bed with a minimum 2 meter distance between ICU beds