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Himachal’s Youth Vaccination Plan Requires “Flash Sale” Experience

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Shimla-If you’re in the 18 to 45-year age group in Himachal Pradesh, attempting to book a jab for yourself, there is one prerequisite. You should be versed with ordering products during flash sale on Flipkart and Amazon.

Okay, that’s how it has actually turned out to be, but not how it should be.

Today the slots for vaccination for this age group opened for the third time at 2:30 pm and it was completely booked in under five minutes. That’s probably comparable to buying a newly launched phone from one of the ecommerce websites on a flash sale.

Eventually the ones who were able to book – this time or in the previous two occasions – largely belong to the tech savvy group with high-end mobile phones/laptops – who understand and can navigating the online maze.

There have been numerous accounts of how biased this vaccination policy is. It has created a digital divide, which completely leaves out a large section of the society devoid of access to gadgets.

When vaccinations opened for those above 45 years, the government simplified the drive with walk-in-facility at the vaccination centers, which to an extent ensured people from all walks of life could visit the center for inoculation.

By mandating the online, self-registration sans walk-in-facility, an instant divide has been created for the access to vaccination. Further, considering each designated vaccination center in the state only receives 100 doses ever Monday and Thursday – when people of 18 to 45 age group can be vaccinated – is adding to the challenge for people with comorbidities even in the affluent section, let alone the poor, uneducated and not tech-savvy.  

This vaccination policy creates inequitable access to the vaccine, and the limited time and availability is making the entire population anxious to win a spot. It has become a mockery. It’s no less stranger than people sitting for hours in front of the screen, rampantly refreshing pages to book a gadget in one of the flash sales.

More so, it is questionable!

Is leaving out a certain section of society from access to vaccination going to solve the larger problem of winning against the deathly virus?  

Credits for Feature Image: Daily Mercury

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the Himachal Watcher or its members.

 

Bharat is a freelance writer and blogger. Born in the queen of hills, Shimla, he is lover of stories untold, humor and football.

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No Dialysis at Tanda Medical College; No Nephrologist, Machine Dysfunctional, Patients from Five Districts Left in Lurch

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Tanda Medical college dialysis facility

Kangra: Amid regular press statements of Chief Minister Jairam Thakur led Himachal Pradesh Government over its consistent efforts to improve the state’s health infrastructure, media reports have been highlighting facts contrary to these statements.

According to a report published in Hindi daily, Covid-19 patients with kidney-related medical conditions from Hamirpur, Mandi, Una, Kangra and Chamba are left in the lurch. The report said that these patients have no nearby options as none of the hospitals in the above mentioned five districts have dialysis facility for Covid patients. These patients are either referred to IGMC, Shimla, or PGI, Chandigarh. Also, the report says, the multi-specialty Hospital Tanda Medical College does not offer dialysis to kidney patients. Dharamshala hospital is unable to offer dialysis to Covid positive kidney patients as it lacks ventilator support.

The report cited a reference of a local who alleged that his mother, who was on dialysis, was admitted to a hospital in Nurpur. She was referred to Tanda Medical College where she tested positive. He said the hospital told him that they don’t offer dialysis facility. He was told that dialysis is performed at Dharamshala. But the hospital in Dharamshala lacked ventilator support for covid patients. The mother died while the son tried to arrange dialysis outside the state. The son said his mother would have survived if she could receive timely dialysis.

Dr. Bhanu Awasthi, the principal of the College, told the daily that Tanda Medical College does not have a Nephrologist and the available dialysis machine is not functional. The hospital has been requesting the government to fill the vacant post, he said. G.D Gupta, CMO Kangra, confirmed that patients in the district have died as they could not receive dialysis treatment because the hospitals in the district don’t have dialysis facilities for COVID patients.

Another report published in an English daily highlight the plight of cancer patients who are deprived of their chemotherapy session, posing threat to their lives.

The report says that various hospitals in the state were converted into Covid-19 treatment centres, and patients suffering from other severe illnesses were not receiving treatment in the districts of the lower Himachal Pradesh. Cancer patients in Kangra have alleged that they are not receiving treatment at Tanda Medical College which they fear could be life-threatening.
The report said Tanda Medical College is the only hospital with a facility for cancer treatment in the lower Himachal which was converted into a Covid hospital. The super-speciality wing of the hospital which caters to cancer, cardio and neuro patients has remained closed since last month. This is causing a delay in the completion of chemotherapy sessions.

Dr Bhanu Awasthi told  the daily that the treatment was suspended temporarily due to a surge in Covid cases. He said that patients who require immediate chemotherapy can go to Indira Gandhi Medical College. He said the cases in Kangra district were coming down and if the situation improves, they will be able to open the super specialty wing soon.

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World’s Highest Motorable Village Achieves 100% Covid Vaccination

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Image Ccredit: Hindustan Times

Lahaul-Spiti: Komic village, known to be the world’s highest motorable village, in Lahaul-Spiti has vaccinated all of its eligible population.  The village is located at an elevation of 15,000 feet and has a population of 130 people as per 2011 census data.

According to officials, all people in the 18-44 age groups have received their first dose of Covid-19 vaccine. People falling under 60+ and 45+ categories were vaccinated with both the doses of Covishield. Only children below the age of 18 were not vaccinated. 

“100 per cent vaccination has been achieved in Komic village with people over 45 years age group vaccinated with both doses,” SDM Gian Sagar Negi told news agency ANI.

Further, all people above 45 years in age have been administered the first dose of the Covid vaccine in Kaza, the headquarter of Spiti Valley. All people above 65-years  have received  both doses. 

“Due to the problems related to internet connectivity in the valley, the state government had allowed offline registration for vaccination. Now, 80% of the registration for vaccination is being carried out offline. Vaccination slots are being booked with help of a lottery,” Gian Sagar Negi added.

Despite tough terrain and weather conditions of  the valley, the health authorities have taken a lead in vaccination.

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Patients Suffer as IGMC – Shimla City’s Only Hospital With Ventilator Beds-Runs Out of Capacity

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IGMC Shimla Ventilator beds
Image Credit: The Statesman

Shimla-  The  Indira Gandhi Medical College & Hospital, Shimla, has maxed out of beds with ventilator support, a report published in a Hindi daily said.  The IGMC is the only hospital in the city with a facility of ventilator beds. The hospital has a total of 37 ventilator beds, all of which were occupied. Patients from other COVID-19 hospitals are referred to the IGMC only after the hospital confirms the availability of ventilator beds. The report said that this shortage of ventilator beds is giving a hard time to critically ill Covid-19 patients. Pertinent to mention that critical patients from across the state are referred to the IGMC. 

Earlier, a report had said that the two major Covid hospitals of Shimla – IGMC and DDU-were packed to their full capacity and patients were denied admissions. This raises questions over the state government’s claims that it’s prepared to tackle the third wave of the pandemic. 

Since the past two days, families of Covid-19 patients had been struggling to find ventilator beds in Shimla, the report said. Hospitals like Deendyal Upadhyay have been asked not to refer any serious Covid patient to the IGMC as all the ventilator beds were already occupied. Usually, when a critical Covid-19 patient needs ventilator support, the hospital where the patient is admitted makes a call to IGMC to inquire for beds and to refer the patient.

“Ventilator beds can only be made available when the patient on ventilator support gets discharged, or when the patient succumbs to the infection. Because such patients cannot be shifted or removed from ventilator support,” Dr. Rahul Gupta, Officer-in-charge Central Store, IGMC, told the daily.

The State Government had notified the Indra Gandhi Medical College, Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital, Ayurvedic Hospital Chhota Shimla, and Walker Hospital as Covid-19 hospitals. But, out of these, only IGMC has the facility of ventilator beds. The DDU has ventilators but they are not operational since the hospital has only one anaesthetist. All the other three hospitals don’t have enough staff to to operate ventilators, the report said. Severe cases from these hospitals are referred to the IGMC only. 

Efforts to increase the ventilator bed capacity in IGMC were being made, Dr. Rahul Gupta told the daily. 

 

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