Hyderabad: Smiles have returned to the faces of 183 COVID patients who were successfully treated at Project Ashray, the zero billing, purpose-built medical care facility.

Set-up 42 days ago, this facility was co-anchored by many reputed organizations including Society for Cyberabad Security Council (SCSC), United Way of Hyderabad, HYSEA, NASSCOM, TiE-Hyderabad, T-SIG, AMCHAM, Grace Cancer Foundation, the expectations were very high.

"Key outcomes achieved were zero mortality and zero medical incidents. One fungal infection was detected and treated. There were four cases of some morbidity being detected for patients during their stay with us and they were advised proper care," said VC Sajjanar, Commissioner of Police, Cyberabad, after reviewing the progress of Project Ashray .

Nearly 87 % of patients were found to be without any complications and completely healthy. "Rest are still recovering with some mild after-effects like lethargy and weakness. The survey was done 10 days after patients' discharge," he said.

Given the free treatment, the patients saved Rs 4 crore, which otherwise they had to shell out at private hospitals. "Even on account of short stays and on account of Oxygen and Remdesivir, we have saved Rs 50 lakh to them, he adds and says that we were able to achieve this through the dedicated support staff and volunteers. 11 staff members were recognized for their contributions in patient care," he said.

Sajjanar said it started with a humble beginning of 50 beds and 2 ICU beds on the mobile bus on May 3. "It expanded to 100 beds and 6 Bridge ICU beds. It is the reason for 183 people to smile. During the one and half month, it served 183 patients, of which 120 discharged and 26 are still under its support, service, and care," he said.

The Bridge ICU, which probably is only of its kind by any Covid Care Centric facilities came up in the recent past. It was inaugurated by Minister KT Rama Rao and has served 14 patients ever since May 26.

Project Ashray was quick enough to add a testing facility to cut down on waiting time for reports. "Though free, it is not less than any corporate hospital in terms of ambiance, facilities, and care. It has all the best facilities one would expect to have," said Krishna Yedula, General Secretary, SCSC.

The bridge ICU has served 14 patients so far out of whom 13 have been moved to a non-ICU ward and discharged later. Project Head Viiveck Verma said around 52 patients needed oxygen support and 32 patients Remsdesivir support during their stay at Project Ashray.

Apart from 117 professionals, it has catering, housekeeping, and security staff. The staff also consists of 27 doctors and 41 nursing staff. "The facility was set up when there was a spike in cases. There were no hospital beds, no oxygen, and no medicines. And this facility was in quick response to the growing need. And we could rise to the then prevailing situation," said Krishna Yedula.

He said free service does not mean less care. "It means utmost care and care like never before. Be it, patients or staff, all were provided free accommodation and food. Staff was fully vaccinated and regularly tested for Covid," he said.

GHMC Zonal Commissioner Ravi Kiran also appreciated the efforts of Project Ashray

The entire treatment at Project Ashray is provided free for those who have Aarogya Shree Card and Aarogya Bhadhratha. Others have to pay for some special medicine. It has round-the-clock availability of Intensivists, pulmonologists, physicians in addition to adequate nursing staff. Its Bridge ICU is manned by a highly qualified team of doctors and nurses.

The objective behind setting it up was while helping mild to moderate patients, help hospitals to save emergency beds for the more needy and critical patients. It is one of its kind, a purpose-built facility, providing medical Covid care in the country. Ashray is a true shelter for people in need.

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