Corona Comes Ashore
Like a thief in the night, the first case of the dreaded Covid-19 reached Nagaland and the news came from a most unexpected source. It was Assam Health and Family Welfare Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma that broke the news on 12 April, 2020 at 10:52 PM, he tweeted that “a private hospital in Dimapur, Nagaland referred a patient to GMCH after he was found with symptoms of Covid-19. He has tested positive and is undergoing treatment”. This was followed by an onslaught of fury, questions and distraught online by citizens of Nagaland, with many discussing till the early morning hours. A reply from the Dimapur District Administration and Health Department officials came the following day with details as to the patient’s history and the decisions and actions taken in the wake of the discovery. This saga has opened up a can of worms and the people of Nagaland deserve answers.
Why was the patient allowed to cross state borders? Who allowed him to do so? Why did the state of Assam accept a patient from Nagaland? Is there proper coordination in the health department from the bottom to the top? Along with the infrastructure and equipment are the healthcare workers mentally and emotionally prepared? How transparent is the health department? After the first dispatch of PPEs why has the department not shared data about the release of supplies? Also, the state health department stated that the positive case would be counted in the tally of Assam but the Central Ministry of Health and Family Welfare website shows conflicting data, Nagaland has one case according to the site. Why does the state health department give conflicting and even erroneous data many a times? Can the people really place their lives in the hands of the Nagaland Health and Family Welfare Department?
Failure or mismanagement is not an option at this time, tragedy will ensue if our leaders do not pull in the reins and take action immediately. We demand accountability, transparency and action from the health department, the administration, all our elected representatives and especially the minister in charge. Whilst we demand much more of our leaders let us also demand more of ourselves too. Let us not simply spew hate and partake in fear mongering online, but rather focus our energy on having civilised discussions and come up with constructive suggestions. Let’s be part of the solution and not the problem. Each and every life is at stake now, and we all have a responsibility to society. Corona has washed ashore, and we as a people must unite to fight against it.