Hospitals must be over stretched Health infrastructure

With over four thousand active cases, 4604 to be precise, the health infrastructure must be overstretched, but making things all that more worrisome is the fact no official figures have been given out on how many actually need hospitalisation. This is where the COVID-19 Common Control Room in its daily statement issued to the media may step in and tell the people how many of the 4604 actually need hospitalisation and how many are hospitalised. Already video footage of patients (not clear whether Covid or non-Covid patients) sleeping on the floor of a hospital has gone viral on the social media and this reflects the heavy strain under which hospitals must be functioning right now. If this is the situation here in Imphal, the capital of Manipur, one can only imagine how the situation must be like at the headquarters of other districts like Churachandpur, Ukhrul, Senapati to name just a few. Already reports have come in from Ukhrul that a number of doctors who have been transferred to Ukhrul district hospital are yet to join service and this must be felt all that more during the pandemic and the growing number of positive cases. This is perhaps the right time for the policy framers of the State and the political leadership to seriously dwell on how much attention they have been paying to the health sector. What is the annual budget for health in the State, is one question that may be raised. How about private hospitals, which fortunately are today in a position to extend their service to the people during the pandemic ? Shouldn’t the Government give due attention to the private hospitals which have managed to give a new definition to the understanding of healthcare and not only during the time of the pandemic ? The point is, the pandemic should be the ideal opportunity for the Government to mull over what may be done to make the healthcare system more robust in the future and not only now.
The task before the Government is cut out. Improve the healthcare system, see what may be done to speed up the vaccination drive and not only for those who have been tagged Frontline Warriors. Here it becomes imperative to question what steps the State Government has taken up to kick-start the vaccination drive of people between the age group of 18 and 44. Some States have already started the vaccination drive for people in the said age group and Manipur too should go the extra mile to ensure that the vaccination process of the said age group starts. The efforts put in by the Government to procure medical oxygen is noted, but this is not enough and more will need to be done to ensure that no patients are turned away on the ground that there is no bed. Lack of preparedness and the virulence of the new strain of the virus has come together to script the tragedy that is unfolding in different parts of the country and a lesson  should be drawn from this. As repeatedly said in this column, the virus is still out there and on May 11, 2021, Manipur saw yet another record number of deaths in 24 hours with 20 people succumbing to the virus to take the total death case to 509. The situation is critical, very critical and it would help if the Government can sincerely say how healthy the medical oxygen stock is to meet any eventuality.