India’s health system cracking under the weight of covid surge: Expert

Last Updated: Saturday, 8 May 2021 (22:43 IST)
Kolkata: As human tragedy unfolds, there is a shortage of everything - oxygen, drugs, beds, vaccines, even cremation space.

Visiting Professor at the Kolkata based University of Health Sciences, School of Public Health, Dr Naresh Purohit said, “India’s has cracked under the weight of Covid surge. We are in a national emergency. More than 800 Medics in the country have already lost their lives to Covid.”
 
Top hospitals in the country are holding back storage in anticipation of future demand and black marketeers are hoarding life saving drugs, tripling the prices in the market and leaving public running around, he said.
 
Executive Member of the Federation of Hospital Administrator, Dr Purohit stated that whether it is essential pharma products like medical oxygen, remdesivir or other medicines, ventilators and other equipment, hospital beds, medical staff, ambulances or even cremation and burial spaces, as also the vaccine - all are rapidly falling short of supply.
 
Shortages all around have made the battle against the second wave of the pandemic an extremely difficult one. With the virus attacking more viciously, the country has been, unfortunately, caught on the back foot, particularly so in the rural areas, he added.
 
Dr Purohit averred that the already strained healthcare structure is facing the heat from all possible corners. As the system scrambles to cope with the pressure, poor patients and their families’ struggles present heart-rending scenes as they attempt to draw urgently needed attention.
 
He cautioned that the present number of active cases have definitely rattled the health care system and extra measures are needed to salvage our health system as it is on the brim to collapse. We need to take strict measures.
 
He said the only solution to the issue of shortage of beds and oxygen supply is to cut down the transmission.
 
“Since things are moving out of control, the only solution to break is to have an extended lockdown,” Dr Purohit said, adding that the government must step up the immunization drive.
 
He emphasised that amid growing cases vaccine is a very important tool to defeat the pandemic, people must still remember to follow the covid guidelines as the virus can spread from even those who have been vaccinated.
 
No matter what variant comes, it cannot spread if people stick to the covid guidelines, he stressed.
 
“After a thorough air sampling of the coronavirus, it has been found that the virus can spread through air. It can move up to 20 feet in a closed area. Wearing a mask can keep one 80 to 90 per cent safe. If the other person is also wearing a mask, then one can be 99 per cent safe,” he added.
 
Dr Purohit pointed that even as the production and import of oxygen have been scaled up, the supply chain has been strengthened by roping in the Railways.
 
Similarly, with the makers of remdesivir working overtime and the government banning its export, people will not have to buy the anti-viral drug on the black market at prohibitive costs. (UNI)