Allahabad HC: Medical System In Rural UP Akin To 'Ram Bharose'

Allahabad HC was hearing suo motu matters on issues arising of the second covid wave.

The Allahabad High Court lamented that unless the Uttar Pradesh (UP) government ramped up testing and failed to identify a COVID infected person at the earliest, it was definitely inviting a "third wave of the pandemic".

The high court's division bench observed that the state's health infrastructure was "absolutely insufficient" to meet the requirements of its population after taking stock of the medical facilities in five districts.

"The entire medical system of the State pertaining to the smaller cities and villages can only be taken to be like a famous Hindi saying 'Ram Bharose' (at God's mercy)," the division bench observed. The court's remark came after it was reported that a person went missing from a medical college in Meerut.

The high court's scathing indictment of the medical facilities comes even as the state chief minister Yogi Adityanath claimed that UP had defeated the first wave, got a grip on the second, and was ready to face the third.

As the country battles the second COVID wave, the highly infectious strain seems to have reached rural areas. Last week, media reported at least 2000 bodies were washed up along the banks of the Ganga. On May 12, deaths in India due to COVID crossed the 250,000-figure mark since the onset of the pandemic last year, with at least 40% of the deaths reported since March 2021.

The high court's observation came as it was hearing its suo motu matter on issues arising out of the second COVID wave.

Also Read: "Enough To Spend On Elections, Little On Public Health": Allahabad HC

Inviting Third Wave unless health infra not ramped up: HC

The high court was taking stock of medical facilities in five UP districts. After perusal of the affidavit submitted by the state government, the high court observed that the Community Health Centers were "virtually lacking in respect of life-saving gadgets."

"So far as the medical infrastructure is concerned, in these few months we have realized that in the manner it stands today, it is very delicate, fragile and debilitated," the bench added. When the medical infrastructure cannot meet the requirements of the population in normal times, then it definitely had to collapse in the face of the present pandemic.

"Thus, the way in which the things have taken shape in district Bijnor and likewise other four districts whose data is before us, we have no hesitation in saying that in rural areas things would not improve in this way," the bench said. "For a rural population of 32 lacs, as is the case of district Bijnor, every day 4 to 5 thousand tests should be conducted, and all the tests should be through RTPCR. This is the time if we fail to identify a Covid infected person at the earliest, we are definitely inviting a third wave…," the bench added.

"If this is the state of affairs of five districts, one can guess where we are leading people of this State to i.e. third wave of the pandemic," the bench comprising Justices Siddharth Varma and Ajit Kumar said.

Also read: NHRC Seeks Special Law To Protect Dignity of The Dead

The court directed District judges to appoint nodal officers in districts like Bijnor, Bahraich, Barabanki, Shrawasti, Jaunpur, Mainpuri, Mau, Aligarh, Etah, Etawah, Firozabad, and Deoria.

The court directed the state to enhance facilities of medical colleges in Prayagraj, Agra, Meerut, Kanpur and Gorakhpur to the likes of Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute and the Universities like the King George's Medical University and Banaras Hindu University. The court warned the state not to linger on the same and file a definite report on how medical colleges would be upgraded in the next four months.

The court also directed the state to adopt a few measures like:

Providing oxygen facility to every bed in all nursing homes. At least 40% of the beds in every nursing home/hospital which has more than 20 beds should be reserved as Intensive Care Units. Of the designated 40%, 25% should have ventilators, 25% should have High Flow Nasal Cannula and 50% should have BiPAP machines. This should be made compulsorily for all the nursing homes/hospitals in the State of Uttar Pradesh.

Every nursing home/ hospital which has more than 30 beds should compulsorily have an oxygen production plant.

Pathology services should be made available in villages and small urban towns. Treatments, facilities that are at par with those given at Level-2 hospitals in bigger cities should be made available in Community Health Centers.

"If a patient however becomes serious in the rural areas or in small towns then ambulances with all kinds of Intensive Care Unit facilities should be provided so that the patient can be brought to a hospital which has proper medical facilities in a bigger town," the court said.

All B and C-grade towns should be provided with at least 20 ambulances within the month. While 14 ambulances should be available in every village, at least two ambulances must have Intensive Care Unit facilities.

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