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Fear the Virus, Not the People

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stigma of coronavirus in india

Shimla-A couple of years back, who would have thought that there would come a time when humanity would sink so low that in some corner of the country, a son will have to carry his mother’s dead body on his shoulders with no one around to lend him a helping hand. I, personally, have never lost faith in humanity, but ever since the pandemic has hit India, there have been many sad incidents where one starts to doubt whether humanity is still alive? I will not use the word virus or COVID-19 to highlight the plight of these people because the virus isn’t the one to crush their souls; it is us, you and me.

In other words, time and again we hear about many incidences like these of people finding it hard to arrange carriage to take their dead relatives to the crematoriums, sick people being deserted when they needed care, people being shunned and thrown out of their rented house because they are infected with the virus and families of the dead victims not being given any space to cremate the dead body. Does it not break your heart to think of what such people go through? Should we not help them? Or are we just going to continue enjoying the luxury of staying at home, and not pay any heed to whatever is happening around us? Like I said before, I have a lot of hope left in me, and I know many of us will not continue watching the needy suffer from a distance anymore. These are tough times for all of us, but we need to look around, as there may be someone who is facing even tougher conditions and may be finding it very hard to survive in such times.

Likewise, we need to understand that because someone is infected with the virus it should not stop us from helping them. I understand that we fear about catching the virus, but if we maintain our distance with the infected person, if we wear masks properly, and if we keep washing our hands and sanitize ourselves, we will still be safe and can help the person who is in need. There’s scientifically no evidence that the dead body is capable of spreading the Covid-19 virus and thus not allowing a person to cremate the dead is uncalled for.  Taking precautions and still finding a way to help such people is the answer. At the same time, a lot of people continue to work in the front line for our needs. Many doctors, nurses, sanitation workers come across people who constantly avoid them and many a times harass them. Don’t be one among such people. Find a way to comfort them from a distance, as they are the real heroes who are leading the battle against Covid-19.

With that being said, yesterday I read the news of a sports trainer in Dharampur coming forward to help a family who was denied help by the villagers to cremate the body of an old woman. The old women wasn’t Covid-19 positive, but due to her daughter being infected with the virus the villagers had objected. After hearing this news through the state officials Sports trainer, Gopal Thakur, along with two other sportsmen travelled to the village from their place, which was 40km’s away and helped the family. After reading that I was filled with a sense of relief, that in some way or form humanity is still alive but at the same time it broke me to realize that none of the villagers had come forward to help the family. But thanks to Mr. Gopal Thakur, my heart got kindled with hope. This incident has reassured me that ‘humanity is not dead, it just needs to be found.’

Thus, it’s time to understand that we should not lose our humanity and our love for mankind in the process of saving ourselves from the virus. Don’t let your soul get infected.

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.

A 23 year old English graduate intensely passionate for journalism. Literature has taught her the value of latent, varying perspectives, and journalism couples it seamlessly with her inclination to look beyond the surface. She sums up her passion for journalism by quoting Maxine Hong Kingston, “There's something in life that's a curtain, and I keep trying to raise it.”

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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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