By : Mirza Jahanzeb Beg
In last few Weeks, there has been surge in CORONA Positive cases in District Doda which has created an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty among the masses. When the Crisis Hit Jammu and Kashmir, People kept travelling from Doda, Kishtwar and Bhaderwah when all of these were green zones to Jammu and Srinagar when these were red zones and vice versa under the nose of the Administration to avoid Quarantine.
Also, No effective mechanism was in place to keep the movement of those in Self Quarantine in check. Since the lock down has been imposed by district administration since almost a week, there has been a sudden spike in COVID cases and most of them are asymptomatic. While many civil society members have expressed concern, Former Bar President Syed Asim Hashmi while speaking to CNS said,” Using single pulse Oximeter from door to door is a recipe for disaster as if it is to ensure that there is corona explosion in district Doda.
This criminal negligence on the part of those at the helm of affairs is in clear cut violation of Govt SOPs & also ICMR guidelines. Whole district Doda is under virtual curfew for last one week. Life has been brought to complete halt & to add to injury, A group of school teachers who are not fully trained for the job have been given one single Oximeter for mass check of oxygen saturation, risking life of whole population in general and those of poor teachers and their families in particular as both Oximeter & teachers can prove to be potential carriers.”
“It may not be out of place to mention here that as per Govt SOP & According to ICMR guidelines for home Isolation of COVID 19 positive patients, government has to provide one pulse Oximeter, a prophylactic medicine kit and an oxygen cylinder, if needed, free of cost on loan basis. But here all guide lines have thrown to wind. Is this all being done to justify lockdown where there is no lockdown anywhere else in whole state or is it collective punishment being given to people of district Doda.” he further added.
Amid the Crisis, Some Private clinics have become a Mecca of Patients with common cold, sore throat, chest infections and fever. Those who are afraid of going through a COVID- Rapid Antigen Test, throng to these private practitioners and pay their hefty consultation fees compared to the government facility, do all the Costly tests, Chest X-rays, Blood Screening and so on and buy medication from the Pharmacies and Diagnostic Centres affiliated with that Private Practitioner.
Such doctors also benefit from spreading of the rumour that the Government people falsely test the Common Cold patient as COVID Positive or helps to spread it. No social distancing being observed at these private facilities and many people in the line would be coughing and pushing one another forward in a hurry to meet the doctor. The doctor would give medicines and again when the patient doesn’t benefit from them, they’ll visit again and again and the doctor will keep writing medicines and the pharmacist and diagnostic centre will keep having good sales and the doctor will in turn keep receiving good commission in addition to consultation fees. Only God knows how many of them would be COVID Positive.
Another concern that people are raising is that some members of the Oximeter Messenger teams compel the Self Quarantined COVID Patients to come out of their Quarantine Rooms for photo ops and take their Photographs with Oximeters. Some people have also complained of Inappropriate behaviour by the staff, which includes entering into the homes of Self Quarantined People with huge teams everyday under one pretext or other, shouting names loudly outside the homes of Position Patients in Self Quarantine which exposes their names in violation of the Central Government’s advisory that the identities of People who are positive or in Quarantine should not be exposed but when untrained teams enter the homes and call the patients out and do photo ops with them, it not only puts lives in risk but also exposes the identity of the Patient to the public especially in crowded localities which is itself unethical and unjustified.
Also, Visiting the Homes of all COVID patients in huge groups or teams puts further risk of transmission as these teams can act as carriers from home to home. Also, People have also raised concern that at the COVID testing centres, people who are not there for testing can be seen roaming and keeping an eye on those who test positive just to spread the word about it which is also a factor that many people feel hesitant to go to these centres for testing. People have also demanded that Sanitizers and masks should be included in the medical kits and Good Quality Pulse Oximeters should be given on loan basis so that Patients can do the testing at home without risking exposure to outside world. (CNS)
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