Saving lives more important than saving heritage: Owaisi

Hyderabad: Reiterating the demand for construction of new building of the Osmania General Hospital, Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi on Sunday said that saving lives is more important than saving heritage.

“If you want to save heritage, save it, but if you want to save lives, and save money, we need a new building for Osmania Hospital,” he said after inaugurating the 23-bed Covid ward at the Indo-US Hospital at Malakpet here.

During a visit to the Osmania Hospital last month, the MP demanded that the state government build a new hospital at a cost of Rs 1,000 crore.

“If you want to keep the building, keep it; If you want to demolish it, do so,” he had said.

Heritage activists, who have been urging the government to protect the heritage structure, had taken exception to the MP’s remarks.

Owaisi, however, defended his stand, saying the condition of the Osmania Hospital is deteriorating with every passing day. He said the Osmania Hospital needs a built-up area of 20 lakh square feet.

The All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief said that people criticising his party for supporting the Osmania Hospital’s new building are neither aware of the situation at the hospital nor have ever visited it for treatment.

The MP said when the Chief Minister can demolish the Warangal Jail and build a hospital there, why can’t he build a new building for the Osmania Hospital Medical College, which is the oldest medical college in the country and has given countless doctors in different disciplines.

“The annual number of surgeries has come down from 90,000 to 45,000 at the Osmania Hospital. We will not let the government escape the Osmania Hospital issue, by citing heritage concerns,” he said.

Designed by Vincent Esch, the Osmania Hospital building on the banks of Musi River was completed in 1925.

Owaisi pointed out that the shortage of beds and ventilators led to loss of many lives during the second wave. “Covid treatment is expensive. And hospitals like these (Indo-US Hospital, Osmania Hospital) can help patients save their hard earned money during times of crises,” he said.

He assured cooperation to the Sahayata Trust-run Indo-US Hospital to further improve healthcare infrastructure and Covid treatment facilities with the help of his MP fund.

Earlier, Owaisi went around the Covid-19 ward with Malakpet MLA Ahmed Balala. The facility is equipped with critical care specialists, 24×7 piped Oxygen, ventilators, bi-pap machines and additional oxygen cylinders in case of emergencies.

High quality oxygen concentrators with dual output, dialysis machines and even an in-house oxygen plant that is due for import on July 15 will provide best medical support to Covid patients.

Once operational, the oxygen plant funded by IMRC, US and implemented by the Sahayata Trust, which manages the hospital, will be able to provide 24×7 liquid medical oxygen for Covid-19 patients at the hospital. “In case of emergencies, free refills of oxygen cylinders will be provided by the Trust,” said Sahayata Trust CEO Syed Aneesuddin.

He said another oxygen plant would come up at Toli Chowki in the city. Two new branches of the Indo-US Hospital are proposed in the city at Toli Chowki and Shah Ali Banda.

Aneesuddin thanked IMRC Chairman Manzoor Ghori for funding the Sahayata Trust projects. He said Indo-US Hospital has been offering treatment at subsidised prices for a long time.

Director of the Indo-US Hospital, Dr Mohammed Abdul Moiz said they trained specialists to follow Covid 19 guidelines issued by the Central government and the WHO.