As COVID-19 cases and deaths rise in Tripura, Opposition leader Manik Sarkar Tuesday said people have “lost faith” in the public healthcare system, especially the apex dedicated COVID hospital — the GBP Hospital in Agartala — and “are afraid of seeking treatment” there.
Sarkar’s claim comes a day after a similar statement from former health minister and BJP MLA Sudip Roy Barman, who Monday visited GBP Hospital and said patients here were asking for voluntary discharge, risking lingering ailments.
“I pointed loopholes about the healthcare services two days ago but no steps were taken to rectify them. I was called by a pregnant woman, who claimed she was not provided food. In many cases, patients were compelled to walk from the third floor to the fifth floor to collect their meals,” Roy Barman said, after the hospital visit with his close aide and MLA Sushanta Chowdhury on Monday.
Meanwhile, purported photos and videos of bodies of Covid-19 victims ‘lying on the ground at GBP Hospital’ have gone viral on social media.
GBP Hospital could not be reached for comments on the videos and social media claims despite multiple efforts.
Manik Sarkar said not just patients, but even doctors were scared of the COVID care centres.
“Doctors are afraid of going inside the COVID wards. They are not to be blamed. There is shortage of PPE. The protective equipment should have been arranged. Queues are getting longer in front of private clinics since people have lost faith in the public healthcare system,” Sarkar said. He added that many public hospitals are so badly managed they ‘aren’t worth going to’.
Sarkar said a six-member team of CPIM legislators recently met Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb and apprised him of the situation, seeking immediate steps to boost testing, contact-tracing and treatment.
The former Chief Minister also said poverty and the crisis of food and work have become larger threats to public life than COVID-19 in Tripura.
“Unlike government employees and other salaried personnel, those in humble professions are facing severe livelihood crisis. MGNREGA, Tripura Urban Employment Programme (TUEP) and other poverty alleviation schemes have fallen face-down amid the pandemic. People need food to build immunity against coronavirus, and for that, they need work.”
Meanwhile, a statement issued by the Chief Ministers Office (CMO) has said special corona teams are being formed in the state.
“Teams with 10 young IAS officers and 10 doctors will coordinate to stop the spread of COVID-19. Plasma therapy will commence in Tripura within the next two days,” the statement said.
The government has also said if any private hospital wants to start COVID treatment, they will get instant approval from the government. Along with this, Tripura has cleared a proposal to allow Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT) at 17 private hospitals and nursing homes, at Rs 750 per test.
According to latest reports, 151 lives have been claimed by Covid-19 in Tripura so far. Out of the 15,529 cases, 9,342 patients have recovered.
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