New Delhi: A leading medical expert has warned that flood –prone areas in the eastern Indian state of Bihar may pose serious health related challenges to a vast majority of populace in over a dozen districts of north Bihar region with the onset of the monsoon.
Subsequently it will also throw larger challenge to the government which has been fighting the Covid -19 pandemic with a fractured health care infrastructure in the state. He has also suggested measures to be taken and their implantation ensured to give a facelift to the public healthcare system in Bihar. It also includes among other, a ban on the private practice of doctors in the regular service of the Government of Bihar.
Detailing the current state of healthcare facilities in north Bihar districts, senior consultant and Infectious disease expert Dr Nishindra Kinjalk, in a letter to the state Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said during the floods Primary Health Centres (PHCs) and other sub centres located in these areas, almost non-functional during routine days, become useless and so the vaccination drive should be taken up on a war-footing in these areas to break the chain of the disease.
He said medicines like Amphotericin and Posaconazole are not available at leading medical college and Hospital SKMCH at Muzaffarpur. So the state of affairs in tier-2 and tier -3 locations around district headquarters can well be imagined.
Floods will add to the mass scale displacement of people and other related issues. Diseases like acute gastroenteritis, jaundice, dermatitis and psychosomatic illnesses are common feature in such times. Under such circumstances, it will be difficult for the state health machinery to simultaneously fight on so many fronts in such odd situations, he added.
So fighting the Covid-19, will become a Herculean task for the government in such a situation, Dr Kinjalk said and urged the Chief Minister to put more effort on vaccination of people in the post lock down period to minimize the severity of the pandemic.
“Vaccination must continue, at least till the time, we have given vaccine to at least 60 per cent of our population. Yes, relaxation in a phased manner should be given to ensure the essential services, essential supplies and purchases are not hampered,” Dr Kinjalk said.
He said that the decrease in the infection and death rate is in fact a result of the lockdown measures, which ensured that unnecessary movements and gatherings of people were not possible. The transmission chain of SARS CoV2 infection was broken.
Pooh-Poohing the emergence of a third wave of the Covid-19 as an unscientific way of describing it by a section of media, Dr Kinjalk said scientists have come to a conclusion that there is nothing called a third wave.
The already existing corona viral strain, now named delta variant (B.1.617.2) is very much around, in our society at various levels of transmission. The moment, people start behaving in careless manner, the infection rate shall sure increase.
In his letter to the CM, Dr Kinjalk said the state government must take all measures; rather be proactive in procuring the consignments of vaccine from all possible sources.
“Since procurement of vaccine and other supplies is a challenging task, we need special measures to tackle it. From the department of commercial taxes, we can have the data of sales figure of the manufacturing and trading companies doing brisk business in Bihar. Under the pandemic / disaster management rules, the state government can impose annual cess of 5 per cent on these companies and units.”
To make the working of health centres and hospitals at all levels more vibrant and working, Dr Kinjalk has also listed measures to be taken to streamline their working. These include:
- The management committee of these hospitals and centres must meet fortnightly, and report to the district administration and the secretariat of the health department.
- The names of the members of the management committee and their contact numbers must be displayed at a prominent place in the premises.
- All the district hospitals must ensure 24 hours emergency services.
- The names and contact numbers of members of the management committee, must be displayed at a prominent place at the centre/ hospital.
- The hospital management committee must meet fortnightly. Training and care of the doctors and healthcare workers.
- Incentive for the ‘high risk’ job must be ensured for them.