After UK reported cases of COVID, 29 patients who tested positive for the same have been kept in isolation at designated health facilities. The new strain is said to be more contagious than the other strains of the coronavirus. Denmark, Netherlands, Australia, Italy, Sweden, France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Canada, Japan, Lebanon and Singapore have also reported the presence of the same strain.
After premature celebrations and boasting of COVID-19 situation as victory over the pandemic and publicizing it as Delhi Model, indescriminate unlock has led to continuous increase in COVID-19 cases. Daily cases are above the 3,000 mark. With interstate movement continuing, Delhi is also catering to cases from nearby states. Health care experts had previously criticized the increased reliance on antigen kits and home based care. While antigen based kits had marginally lower detection rate compared to gold standard RT-PCR, home based care carried the increased risk of complications, later arrival at hospital and overall poorer prognosis. In an expensive city like Delhi, only a small percentage of households had the privilege of space and facilities to ensure strict home isolation. The upcoming days will be a real test for Delhi after having handled the first wave reasonably well.
Oxford COVID-19 vaccine was one of the leading candidates in the corona virus vaccine race. Russia emerged victorious in the race and announced Sputnik V early and looked for collaboration from India for mass production. Meanwhile Oxford was under sharp criticism for handing over the vaccine to private player Astra Zeneca. In a setback to the trial, one individual experienced serious adverse effect, the reason for which was not known. Some news articles even speculated that the reason could be even unrelated to vaccine. The scientific community was full of praise for Oxford – Astra Zeneca and other partners for their transparency and due diligence in conducting the trials.
While the self-reliant model seems promising, it is important to note the role of the global industry, which, so far, has catered to 70% of India’s medical equipment needs, Writes Prof. Amir Ullah Khan, Development Economist, Former Senior Policy Advisor, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Too Little Too late ?
While the actions Central Government to take notice of the situation, albeit late and ensuring immediate amendments are made as feasible so that front-line warriors are able to serve the country without fear is a
It is also important note that this Govt. rejected The Health Services Personnel and Clinical Establishments (Prohibition of Violence and Damage to Property) Bill, 2019, sought to punish people who assault on-duty doctors and other healthcare professionals by imposing a jail term of up to 10 year. Now the Govt. is looking to amend more than a century old epidemic act to protect health care workers only during this crisis. What will happen after end of this pandemic? Isn’t health a priority for the nation? When will the endless assault on health workers and health care facilities end? Hasn’t COVID-19 Pandemic taught India and the word about the priorities to sustain humanity ?
Health Care, more importantly Public Health Care relies on few important aspects, Health Care Workers, Hospital with adequate facilities and trust of the public it serves. The dismal health care expenditure and lack of proper remuneration has made several doctors leave Govt. service already. Govt. Hospitals throughout the country are poorly manned, lack even basic facilities for everyday operations, forget PPE and COVID-19 care. Underfunded hospitals facing huge load of patients have alienated people due to the impossible nature of demand they meet reflected as angry patients and relatives, dates for surgeries delayed for several months. A long term sustainable change in public health care spending/planning and legislation is the way forward.
The PPE promised to health care workers has not arrived, the testing capacity has not been ramped up sufficiently and adding to this, doctors are getting assaulted and their bodies are denied the last rites. Asking doctors to step up to the challenge of handing the pandemic after mere amendment of Epidemic Act is akin to asking Noah stranded in a desert without tools to build an ark after the deluge.
Thanks and Regards,
Dr Srinivas Rajkumar T M.D
RDA AIIMS 2020-2021
All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi