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Saturday, October 24, 2020

In Amritsar walled city, health dept’s testing drive hits a wall…

The Indian Express has learnt that the Department is facing difficulty in conducting tests here amid rumours of patients not getting proper treatment at Government Medical College, Amritsar.

Written by Kamaldeep Singh Brar | Amritsar | Updated: June 12, 2020 12:44:43 pm
punjab news, amritsar test corona, coronavirus test, covid test amritsar, corona test amritsar, indan express Health department team, moving door to door, counsels people to get tested for Covid-19, in Amritsar on Thursday. express photo by Rana Simranjit Singh.

Punjab Health Department officials on Thursday went door-to-door in Amritsar walled city’s Ward Number 49 to convince people to come forward for testing after the area emerged as the latest hotspot in the city.

The Indian Express has learnt that the Department is facing difficulty in conducting tests here amid rumours of patients not getting proper treatment at Government Medical College, Amritsar.

People in the ward has been staying away from random testing drive fearing that they will not get proper treatment at GMC, Amritsar in case they test positive. The ward has 12 active cases and 4 containment zones – Bombay Wala Khu, Katra Moti, Ganj Di Mori, and Katra Moti Ram.

“Due to bad word of mouth publicity and the social media information about the Government Medical College, Amritsar, people are not ready to get tested because they think they will not be treated well at the Guru Nanak Dev hospital. They have come to think that doctors do not look after the patients there. They fear that if they test positive, their whole family will be shifted to the hospital and then and it would be nightmare for them. We have been trying to convince them that how important it is to test them,” said Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANM) Prabhjot Kaur.

ANMs are the first contact persons between the community and the health services provided by the state.

The team that conducted this interaction with locals included, Covid-19 nodal officer for the area, Dr Mandeep Singh Sandhu, and councillor Mitanjali Sharma.

Dr Mandeep Singh Sandhu said, “I have experience of dealing with people who have perceptions against some good medical practices. I worked on World Health Organisation project for the Polio vaccination in Bihar and met with families, who had perception that Polio would make their children impotent. But I converted their opinion. Here too people have some perceptions.

So, I decided to call small meetings of locals to inform and convince them for testing. Right information will definitely convince locals to come forward for the testing and we got good response from as many of them agreed to come forward for the testing.”

Local Councilor Mitanjali Sharma added: “My area has narrow lanes. It is area of walled city. I feel that Covid-19 spread in our area after the lockdown was lifted. Our area has containment zones and hotspots. It is true that people are not coming forward for the testing but today’s exercise was fruitful and many have agreed to get tested.

There are wrong perceptions in the mind of people due lack of education and we have been working to convince them to go for testing.”

Interestingly, Government Medical College Amritsar does not come under the Health Department and is under Cabinet minister of Medical science and Research O P Soni, who is also the local Amritsar Central MLA.

Amritsar reported four deaths on Thursday and 11 suspected cases of community spread. Total 15 were reported positive in Amritsar.

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