People Of The Country Losing Hope In The System!

The second wave of COVID-19 pandemic has crumbled the healthcare system of our country. It is not only the acute shortage of oxygen but also the  crisis in getting the medicines and basic amenities in our Government hospitals on which more than 95% of the population is depending upon. The  elections also played a major role especially the multiple phases of elections held in West Bengal also played a major role in the rudeness of the  second wave of COVID-19. The media was overloaded with news of shortage of oxygen, shortage of cremation grounds and so on. The health wokers became  the target of all these unfortunate situations. Successive governments at the Centre, has started reducing the allocation of funds for creating and  developing health infrastructure, and a country with more than 138 crores population is spending only 1.6%  of the GDP on its  healthcare. The  WHO  has recommended that healthcare should be given priority and atleast 5%  of the GDP should be allotted for healthcare system in our country. The  ultimate result of such willful negligence has only resulted in people dying on roads, platforms, under the trees, inside the ambulance vehicles and in some cases inside the autorikshaws etc., people cried out of helplessness and they remained as silent spectator when their kith and kin breathed their last in their presence.

If  this is  the  fate  of  the  common man  the  story  of  the  doctors, nurses  and  other  para  medical  staff  who  are  now  generally  called as  healthcare  workers  have  become  more  miserable.  They  are  not provided  with  what  is  required  for  treating  a  COVID-19  patient.  The  cruel part  is  that  if  they  themselves  become  infected  by  COVID-19  then  they  also  have  to  run  pillar  to post  for  getting  a  bed  with  oxygen  in  the  hospitals. One  of  the  reports  of  Indian  Medical  Association  says  that  more  than  800 doctors  have  succumbed  to  death  to  the  COVID-19  virus  infection.  The  hospitals  are  overcrowded,  they  have  to  work  almost  24  hours,  working  condition  are pathetic,  they  are  subjected  to  administrative  pressure  and  political  pressure.  No leave  has  been  sanction  to  them.  While  this  is  the  condition  of  the  staff  of  the  Government Hospitals  the  situation is  further  worse  in  private  hospitals where  they  are  not  being paid  their  wages  for a  months  together. This  has  resulted  in  serious  mental  depression  amongst  the  health  workers.  There  are  reports that  some of  them  have  also  committed  suicide  due  to  depression.

The  COVID-19 pandemic  has  become  another  business  for  earning profit  by  black  marketing  the  medicines  and  even  manufacturing  and  supplying  of  fake  drugs.  The  entire  health system  needs  to  be  revamped. The  present  gap  and  mistrust  between  the  Union  Government  and the State  Governments  should  go away.  Country  is  witnessing  an open  divide  between  the  State  Governments  and  the  Union  Government in  the  matter  of  COVID-19  management  and  healthcare  delivery.  The  bureaucracy  has  also  further  worsened  the  situation  without  understanding  the  ground  reality  and  advising  the political  bosses  with  regard  to  the  matters  of  prevention  of  the  COVID-19  spreading  and  treatment of  the  disease.  I  would  like  to  quote  here  the  historical  words  of  Napoleon  Bonaparte    “  A leader  is  a  dealer  in  hope”.  People  elect  the  Prime  Minister  and  Chief  Ministers  with  lot  of  hope .  They  believe  the  assurances  given  to  them  during  the  elections.  Some  of  the  state  governments have  already started  acting  in  a positive  manner.  The  Left  Democratic  Front Government  of  Kerala  is  an  example  where  the  state  with its  limited  resources  is  struggling  to  save  the people  from  the pandemic  by  taking  the people  into  confidence.  The  newly elected  Tamilnadu Government  is  also  marching  in  that  direction  with  various  positive  steps  to  curb  the  spreading  of  the  COVID-19  virus.

The Prime  Minister  and  Chief  Ministers  should  have  a  trusted  team  who  without  praising  them  throughout  day  and  night should  act  upon  and  should  have  the  courage  to point out  the  shortcomings  in  the system.  Criticism  by  the  opposition parties  and  other  agencies or  even  individuals  for  that  matter  however  sharp  it  may be,  the  same  should  not  be  neglected.  There  may be  facts  in  their  criticism.  Just  a year  back  India  was  the  pharmacy  for  the  world  and  many  foreigners  use  to  visit  India  for  taking  medical  treatment.  Today  our  country is  begging  vaccine  from  other  foreign  countries.  Where our  Atma Nirbar  Bharath  has  gone?  The people  of  the  country  feel  diminished  after  all these  unfortunate  developments  in our  country.  Why  this  situation  has  come?  Patronizing  the private  sector  and  neglecting  the public  sector  and  Government sector  is  the  reason  for  todays  pathetic  situation. The  LDF  Government of  Kerala  has  revived  almost  all the  State  PSU’s  and  many have  started  performing  and  earning profit.  Government  sector  and Public  sector  should  be  nurtured  and patronized  by  the Government  since  they  always  raise  to  the  occasion  whenever  the  country is in  need.  During  the  first  wave  of  COVID-19 pandemic  when  nothing  was  available in  the  country  it  was  the  Ordnance  Factories  which  came to  the rescue  of the  country  by  manufacturing  more  than  10 lakh  medical mask ,  Personal Protective  Equipments,  sanitizer  and  even  Extendable  Medical  Tents.  During  the  second  wave  when  the  country  was  suffering  due  to  shortage  of  oxygen  the public  sector  companies  have  plunged into  the production of  oxygen  and  supplying  the  same  to  almost  all the  corners  of  the country in  record  time. The  PSU  banks  are  serving  the  people  even  in  this  odd  situation.

The Prime  Minister  and the  Chief  Ministers  should  forget  their  political  agenda  and  should  listen  to  who ever  is  telling  the  truth  and  making  criticisms  with  an  open  mind. They  should  not  allow the  so  called  supporters to  indulge  in  abuses  against  the  critics  and  also  the  sycophancy  of  the  yes  masters.  Being  elected  to  the  power  it  is  their  responsibility  to  respond  positively  to  the  faith  and  the  hope  the people  are  having  on  them.

The Railways is playing a major role in this pandemic The DRDO also is playing it’s role in inventing medicines and other equipments to fight the Corona virus

Views  expressed  here are  those of  C. Srikumar, General  Secretary of  AIDEF  and  the  NEC  Member of  AITUC.

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