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Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Panchkula residents take up CMO Kaur’s suspension, push to bring her back

In an order issued late Tuesday, Health Minister Anil Vij suspended the CMO for reportedly failing to arrange a bed for a patient on the minister’s directions.

Written by Pallavi Singhal | Panchkula |
July 8, 2021 4:14:51 am
Dr Jasjeet Kaur at her office. (Express Archives)

A day after Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Jasjeet Kaur was suspended, residents termed the suspension “unfortunate”, calling her “one of the most capable CMOs in the state”.

In an order issued late Tuesday, Health Minister Anil Vij suspended the CMO for reportedly failing to arrange a bed for a patient on the minister’s directions. During the suspension period, her headquarter will be in the office of Director General Health Services, Sector 6, Panchkula. She would get subsistence alloance as per rule 83 of Haryana Civil Services (General) Rules, 2016, the suspension order read.

Several residents condemned the action and argued that “while on the one hand Dr Jasjeet Kaur deserves her next promotion for her handling of the pandemic in the district, she instead has been reprimanded for not adhering to favoritism amid mid- peak” of the deadly pandemic.

In a press statement, District’s Citizen Welfare Association president S K Naiyar spoke on behalf of the residents and condemned the move.

“The reason given for her suspension that she couldn’t accommodate the minister’s recommended Covid-19 patient during the peak pandemic days is absurd to say the least. How could she have accommodated patients when there were no beds? This is what happens when ministers indulge in petty politics instead of ensuring upgradation of facilities. The incident is bound to repeat in wave three if good officers are reprimanded and those corrupt are hailed,” Naiyar told The Indian Express.

Members of CWA have written to Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, Health and Home Minister Anil Vij, Speaker and local MLA Gian Chand Gupta as well as ACS (Health) Rajeev Arora requesting them “to reinstate her (the CMO) with immediate effect, without explaining any reasons. She deserves a reward for her honesty & genuineness of performing her duties instead of being put under suspension”.

MLA Gupta told The Indian Express, “I was informed that an inquiry had been initiated but was shocked to see the suspension letter. The letter does not mention any specific reason for her suspension. The inquiry had been marked at a time when Covid was at a peak.”

Praising her for the work done, he said, “Speaking from what I witnessed first hand, she has worked diligently since the beginning of the pandemic. Her management of the whole situation could not have been better. It was teamwork and she managed it well.”

On the representation given to Gupta for the reinstatement of the CMO by people of his constituency, Gupta said, “I am yet to receive it but would definitely think upon what can be done and how this matter can be further taken up. I represent the people of my constituency and will take up the matter if they so request.”

At a time when the district struggled, Dr Kaur, given the charge of Panchkula in February 2020 last year right before the pandemic began, remained the driving force behind its management, leading the war from the front as she upgraded the otherwise secondary care hospital with several ICUs and ventilator units making it a 24×7 functional hospital.

Facilities upgraded

The Panchkula civil hospital which did not have a single ICU unit, ventilator, HDUs, oxygen plant or even oxygen storage now boasts having all these. These were all added in a span of one year under Dr Kaur’s leadership. An oxygen plant with a capacity to produce oxygen at 1,000 litres per minute, another oxygen storage tank for the storage of liquid oxygen, a molecular lab which caters to samples from Panchkula and nearby Haryana districts, a 24-bed ICU, 18 ventilators as well as 40 BiPap machines now remain functional.

The district also took the lead in launching Tricity’s first-ever Post-Covid Care Centre (PCCC) which also became functional on Wednesday. The centre was opened keeping in view severe effects of the second wave of Covid both physically as well as mentally.

Panchkula excelled in sampling

Panchkula stood at number two in the state after Gurugram in terms of testing per lakh population, having tested almost 57 per cent of its population. With a population of almost 6 lakh people, Panchkula had tested 3.3 lakh of its people by May-end. Out of the total 22 districts, it stood second only to Gurugram, part of Delhi NCR with a population double than that of Panchkula. It also stands much above the state’s average of testing 34,052 people per lakh.

At the onset of the pandemic, Panchkula did not even posses a lab and was getting its samples processed at PGI, Chandigarh, and other districts of Haryana.

Leading vaccination in the Tricity

The district under the leadership of Dr Kaur took the lead in the management of the Covid crisis. Not only was it first to implement the vaccination policy for those below 18 in May, it is the only one which ran above 40 vaccination centres from March to May. It has also jabbed 100 per cent of its senior citizen population with first dose.

The district, throughout the first and second wave, kept over 30 sampling spots functional with people reaching the district for treatment of Covid from neighbouring areas, including Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Punjab and districts of Haryana.

Keeping in mind the underprivileged of the district, random sampling was conducted in slums throughout her tenure, Covid set-ups were built in rural areas to make them independent while also indulging in widespread IEC (information, education and communication) measures to tackle vaccine hesitancy and promote vaccination. At a time when vaccines were only trickling in, Dr Kaur took the difficult decision of vaccinating the rural and slum population on priority to save them from the pandemic while also ensuring the working class does not become virus spreaders.

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