Monday, May 23, 2022

Maharashtra’s Covid-19 Crisis

By The Editorial Team Updated: Apr 11, 2021 11:30 pm

Reluctance of the Maharashtra Government to learn lessons from the first Covid-19 wave is the reason behind the disaster that the state is facing at present. Maharashtra has repeatedly been identified as the worst affected by the pandemic amongst India states. According to health experts, the state is threatening to go Brazil’s way with rampant spread of infection and deaths. The situation has reached such a point as the state government did not sufficiently prepare itself despite knowing about the impending danger. As Maharashtra was badly affected during the first wave, it was expected that the state would produce enough stock of vaccines and Oxygen to prevent the second Covid-19 wave from causing severe damage such as was seen in the first wave.

In India, the number of active corona cases have started dipping from November last. Along with Maharashtra, the entire nation heaved a sigh of relief. But, everyone knew that the second wave was not far. As a matter of fact when the numbers were going down in India, parts of Europe and the US were struggling to control the second wave. So, it was known to all that sooner or later, India would be attacked by the second wave. Thus, the Centre and most of the states allocated more funds to the health sector. But, while states like Himachal Pradesh and Sikkim have increased per capita expenditure on public health to nearly INR 5,000, the Maharashtra Government’s per capita spending on public health remained at INR 1400. As a result, when the second corona wave started lashing the state, health services in the state were found wanting.

At present, there are 5.3 lakh active corona patients in Maharashtra. To treat such a huge number of people, the state needs at least 50 thousand to one lakh Remdesivir injections per day. But the state government has already made clear that there is not enough stock of injections to treat that many people. Moreover, there is an acute shortage of Oxygen too.  Nearly, 50 thousand patients need Oxygen support per day. The Maharashtra Government is not being able to meet this demand. It may be mentioned here that according to experts Oxygen Therapy is one that works to alleviate early Covid-19. And thus shortage of it may be a cause as to why the death toll is much more this time than the first wave.

Such a situation could easily be averted if the Maharashtra Government showed little bit of sincerity in dealing with this health hazard. The state government had nearly three and a half months to prepare before facing the second wave; enough time to stock medicines and oxygen. But for reasons best known to them, the state authorities did nothing to strengthen the public health system. The per capita allocation on public health stands as a testimony to this fact. Perhaps, the state health department had taken the threat too lightly. Unfortunately, the second wave appears to be stronger than the first one and it has brought to light the lackluster and casual approach of the Maharashtra Government to the fore. Clearly, the situation needs intervention.

By The Editorial Team Updated: Apr 11, 2021 11:30:28 pm