Skip to main content

Need for nationalisation? COVID-19 puts private healthcare services in doldrums

By Sandeep Pandey*
Ram Shankar met with a fatal hit-and-run accident in rural area of Hardoi district of Uttar Pradesh on April 16, 2020 and was referred by the District Hospital to Trauma Centre of King George’s Medical University (KGMU) in Lucknow. He could not be admitted there and was referred to nearby Balrampur Hospital. From there he was referred to Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia hospital.
He was denied admission at these government facilities as only coronavirus affected patients were being admitted and beds had to be kept free for them. Leaving no choice for them the attendants had to take him to one private hospital after another because either it was too expensive or treatment was unsatisfactory.
After going through Almighty, Kamakhya, Charak, Maa and Madocks he finally landed at Galaxy Hospital in Thakurganj where Ram Shankar expired on the morning of April 21 but not before his relatives were made to cough up close to Rs 2 lakhs in all. The cost of using ventilator at Madocks was Rs 11,000 for a day but in the bill double the amount was charged. Ram Shankar belonged to an Other Backward Class with merely half an acre of land in his village.
Asghar, 35, who used to run a small shop from a kiosk in Dubagga, Lucknow, who was riding a motorcycle till a couple of days back, died on April 22, of some undiagnosed illness. The doctors of hospitals where he went were either unwilling or unable to treat him. It is a peculiar situation where some doctors or medical staff are unwilling to deal with patients for the fear of contracting coronavirus.
On April 23 Kiran went to get herself examined at Community Health Centre in Rampur Mathura of District Sitapur. She was asked to get some tests done at a private pathological laboratory at nearby Mehmoodabad. She was diagonsed of tuberculosis, given a strip of medicines and asked to buy more from the market.
Another patient came from Kanpur with a cardiac problem and sought admission to Lari Cardiology of KGMU. But he could not get admitted as every new patient needs to undergo a COVID-19 test to safeguard the essential cardiac care services. It is important to note that Lari Cardiology triages patients in wake of the pandemic so that entire cardiology facility does not face a risk of a shutdown or quarantine, bringing lifesaving services for the region to a halt.
Upon arrival, every patient is kept in a designated area with infrastructure and trained healthcare workers for such triaging while COVID-19 tests are done from within the KGMU. Only test reports done from KGMU are accepted here. Tests may take up to two days but turnaround time for report to come is reducing in every government facility. 
Upon negative test report, patient moves further in the regular cardiology care but only if it is a serious case. However, if test report is positive, then patient is triaged to regular care for COVID-19 positive people as per the government guidelines. 
Long-standing call from people who care about public health have fallen on deaf ears to stop privatization of public healthcare
It is no doubt paramount to ensure that infection control practices in every healthcare facility are strengthened to prevent transmission of hospital-borne infections. Before COVID-19, too, government hospitals were overburdened with burgeoning demands of healthcare needs. More worrying has been the fact that a significant number of diseases our populations and healthcare system deals with, is entirely preventable. 
Long-standing call from people who care about public health have fallen on deaf ears to stop privatization of public healthcare, to prioritise preventive healthcare and hold those corporations legally and financially liable who are knowingly selling products that cause diseases (or kill).
COVID-19 has put entire health system in spotlight where it is essentially the government run healthcare services that are struggling to withstand against the onslaught of potentially catastrophic pandemic. 
COVID-19 has put us in a situation where suddenly profit-making private healthcare industry is in doldrums. Entire hospitals have had to be shut down for quarantine for example. It is only the government healthcare services that are still running despite of looming threat of COVID-19.
We need to realize that in this moment of growing crises, we cannot afford that our government healthcare facilities should risk being shut down for quarantine, or healthcare workers face any undue risk of COVID-19.
But equally important is to ensure that while we try our best to prevent COVID-19 pandemic, we are not brewing more pandemics which could have been averted with timely and essential lifesaving care. On April 15, 2020, the Chief Minister of UP had asked authorities to “restart” emergency services in government hospitals, which were earlier suspended on March 25, 2020 to prevent the spread of coronavirus in hospitals.
People living with HIV or hepatitis C virus or active TB disease need uninterrupted treatment services. But due to lockdown, either health facilities were affected, or people were not able to go to the clinic to get their lifesaving medicines. There was some respite for HIV as National AIDS Control Organization of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had relaxed guidelines hours before the imposition of lockdown.
These guidelines enabled the volunteers among people living with HIV who stepped forward to home deliver antiretroviral drugs from government-run HIV clinics to over 45,000 people by early April 2020. But India has over 14 lakh people who are on lifesaving antiretroviral therapy.
---
*Magsaysay Award winning social and political activist

Comments

Genius Junction said…
This Post has a lot of information, for the people who are looking to enter the health industry. You have provided excellent knowledge in the health and social care courses. I am also having the corresponding niche, you can check the link to my website.

TRENDING

North Gujarat gram panchayat bars villagers from dealing with Muslim hawkers, traders

By Our Representative  A gram panchayat in North Gujarat has barred its residents not to buy anything from Muslim traders and hawkers. An order of the Waghasan group gram panchayat of Tharad taluka of Banaskantha district dated June 30 states that the decision has been taken in the wake of beheading of a Hindu tailor after he posted a derogatory writeup on Prophet Mohammad in Udaipur. The gram panchayat resolution says, anyone seen buying or selling any commodity from a Muslim hawker or trader would be fined Rs 5,100. Bringing this to light, Mujahid Nafees, convener, Minority Coordination Committee, in a letter to Gujarat chief minister Bhupendra Patel, says, the state government should take legal action against the panchayat chief who has signed the “unjust” order. The letter says, the act of the sarpanch and other signatories is a violation of rule of law of the state and threat to peace, pointing out, the move is in violation of Article 15 of the Constitution, which says that none

Technocratic globalism, tyranny? Health Ministry warned: bill to 'enslave' Indians

Sandeep Pandey, Tushar Gandhi By Rosamma Thomas*  Union of Concerned Citizens, a group comprising Magsaysay Award winner Prof Sandeep Pandey, human rights activist Tushar Gandhi, former judge of the Bombay High Court BG Kolse Patil, pediatrician Dr Jacob Puliyel and several renowned Indian citizens have written to the Union Health Minister cautioning him against tabling the draft Public Health Bill in the Monsoon Session of Parliament. “The Public Health (Prevention, Control And Management Of Epidemics, Bio-Terrorism And Disasters) Bill, 2017 and a Prospective Bill of 2022 as discussed in news articles, is straightforwardly violative of Fundamental Rights of the citizens of India and therefore, Ultra Vires of the Indian Constitution. It contravenes several International Treaties and Conventions including the Nuremberg Treaty of 1947 which was enacted to ensure that no country would repeat such inhuman medical atrocities on fellow human beings”, the 12-page letter reads. “Strangely, t

Unlike Soviet Union, Russia is no friend to India: Ukrainian scholar tells 'Indian friends'

Counterview Desk In an open letter to "dear Indian friends", Anastasia Piliavsky, born in Odessa, Ukraine, studied at Boston and Oxford Universities (on a Rhodes Scholarship), and now teaches at King’s College, London, has said that she faces "deep moral dilemma", personally and professionally, over the "astonishingly unified Indian response to the war in Ukraine." Based on her interaction with a "number of thoughtful and caring Indian friends", in this letter, she says, she is "reeling at the ubiquitous silence at, justifications of or outright support for Putin’s terror, which now prevails in India, at the ubiquitous #IStandWithPutin and #istandwithrussia hashtags." She insists, India must understand, "Unlike the Soviet Union, Russia is no friend to India. Soviet leaders, beginning with (the Ukrainian) Nikita Khrushchev – who declared hindi rusi bhai bhai – built up deep political and cultural exchange with India." Text : I

PLFS data: Is rising employment good news? Deeper analysis suggests contrary results

By Ishwar Chandra Awasthi, Puneet Kumar Shrivastav*  Results of the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS), 2020-21 , released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, Government of India (GoI) on June 14, 2022, show improvement in work force participation rate (WPR) and labour force participation rate (LFPR) and declining unemployment rate. Four rounds of data have been released from 2017-18 to 2020-21 based on PLFS. The general trend in the last four rounds clearly shows consistent increase in WPR and LFPR and falling unemployment rates by usual status (PS+SS). Though increase in WPR and LFPR is reported highest in 2019-20 over 2018-19, yet rising trend in these two key indicators continues throughout, and similarly fall in unemployment is registered highest in 2019-20 over 2018-19. Clearly, the recent results give some solace and relief after unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic that has entailed enormous loss of human lives and livelihoods and crippled economic activit

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

'Drop all falsed charges': 150 citizens demand early release of AltNews co-founder

Counterview Desk  About 150 concerned citizens have demanded the release of Mohammed Zubair, co-founder of the fact-checkng newsportal AltNews, arrested over a 2018 tweet which allegedly hurt religious sentiments, even as booking for criminal conspiracy and having received foreign funds in violation of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA). Denied bail last weekend and sent to 14-day judicial custody, the concerned citizens, in a statement, regretted that while the Delhi High Court issued notice to the Delhi police on a petition filed on behalf of Zubair challenging the legality and propriety of his police remand and the seizure of his electronic devices, the “frivolous case” continues. Excerpts: The illegal arrest of Mr. Mohammed Zubair happened on June 27, 2022, by the Delhi Police for allegedly hurting religious sentiments and promoting enmity over a tweet from 2018. The IPC Sections included 153(a) (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race,

Chennai residents 'suffering': Faulty design, implementation of storm water project

By NS Venkataraman*  The Greater Chennai Corporation is now implementing storm water drainage project in 559 roads, covering a distance of 1033 kilometres, which cost around Rs 4,070 crore. For this massive project, which is targeted to be completed between April and September this year, huge loan has been availed from World Bank, Asian Development Bank and others. Several technocrats have pointed out that the project has been designed with outdated technology and quality of the implementation is so poor that the residents have been put to great hardships. As part of the project, digging of the road has been done to around 5 to 6 feet deep and width of around 4 to 5 feet. The drains are being constructed using steel reinforced cement concrete with two walls on either side with provisions for manhole, chute etc. This has been done in front of several houses leaving little space between the gate of the house and that of the drainage structure. As the work has been going on for mor

Prime Minister's 'affordable' housing policy fails to help Gujarat slum dwellers: Study

By Rajiv Shah  A new study on the implementation of one of the major policy initiatives for the urban poor by the Narendra Modi government after it came to power, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), has said that in Gujarat, which happens to be the Prime Minister’s home state, has quoted state officials as “confirming” that no progress towards tenure regularization, a key requirement for providing housing to the state’s slum dwellers. Stating that this particularly true of smaller town, the study, carried out by the non-profit Homes in the City (HIC), which is based in Bhuj, district headquarter of Kutch that saw a devastating earthquake in 2001, says, the failure to provide affordable housing is there despite the fact that there has been “significant demand” in all the 83 out of 153 Gujarat municipalities studied by experts involved in the study. According to the study, out f a total of 1.41 lakh demands for housing under the Beneficiary Led Construction (BLC) category, 94,232 (66.7%)

'Contractor-official nexus led to RTI activist's murder': Fact-finding team seeks probe

Courtyard inside of PWD office where Ranjeet Soni was killed Counterview Desk  A fact-finding team* visited Vidisha, Madhya Pradesh (MP) on June 19, 2022 to meet with the family of Ranjeet Soni, who was shot dead on June 2, 2022 inside the premises of the PWD office in Vidisha. The objective was to gather information about the circumstances surrounding the death of Ranjeet Soni and his work on exposing corruption through the use of the Right to Information (RTI) Act. A report prepared by the team members says that Ranjeet had been extensively using the RTI Act to access information from the government, and upon receiving documents showing misuse of public funds or corruption, he was filing complaints to various authorities including the Lokyukta, Publi Works Department (PWD) and the Chief Minister’s Office. It notes, Ranjeet used to work as a contractor and often undertook government works in collaboration with other contractors, including those being investigated for his murder. A f

Electricity Bill: Centre's reform measures contain 'carrot and stick package' for states

Counterview Desk  The Peoples’ Commission on Public Sector and Public Services (PCPSPS), claiming to be a network of eminent academics, jurists, erstwhile administrators, trade unionists and social activists, seeking consultations with stakeholders with those who are against the government’s decision to monetise, disinvest and privatise public assets/enterprises, has said that the proposed Electricity (Amendment) Bill-2022 will have far-reaching impacts on the finances of states. Insisting that the proposed Bill would lead to “assault on India’s federal structure”, in a statement, it says, it would weaken the finances of states’ power distribution companies, have adverse impact on utility employees, cripple the states' finances, impose a heavy cost burden on the smaller subsidized consumers (especially farmers), and benefit only corporate business houses. “States cannot afford to ignore the far-reaching implications of the Bill on their economy, finances, agricultural and industria