Ujjain: The mess in the healthcare system in the rural areas has exposed the sheer failure of the governance in the state to curb the spread of corona during the second wave of the pandemic.
The corona is raging in the rural areas despite the availability of funds, at the Gram Panchayat level.
According to the experts, the panchayats can use their Budgetary allocations under various heads to wage a war against the corona at the village level. But due to policy paralysis and failure of governance no such measures have been taken so far, they allege.
Appalling state of health facilities
The conditions in the rural areas are so appalling that even the villages which are located near the cities lack access to basic health facilities.
Due to the surge in corona cases, the beds in hospital have proved insufficient for the city dwellers and an estimate of the conditions in villages is enough to send shudders to anyone whose heart beats for the victims of the corona, said a source. Worse, the villagers are also grappling with access to even basic medicines leave alone corona specific facilities like oxygen-bed and drugs like Remedisivir injection, he added.
Diagnosis and isolation
Availability of corona test kits and lack of facilities for CT scan has further complicated the affairs for villagers. As homes in villages do not have attached toilets isolation of corona patients is posing a huge challenge.
According to inputs from the rural areas, corona patients are dying in Gram Panchayats across the state. However, the last rites of corona victims are performed at the village itself, so the deaths of such victims of Covid is not included in the Health Bulletin.
Survey a sham
A survey is underway in most of the villages. But the survey teams do not even have a medical kit to provide to the people who are suffering from corona or have corona like symptoms, said a source.
Medical kits, masks and sanitser
Visits of symptomatic or asymptomatic patients to the Gram Panchayat headquarters or Primary Health Centers is also proving futile on most occasion they find that the staff is not at the desk. And even when the staff is present then they do not any medical kit to dispense, allege villagers.
Masks and use of sanitisers have proved helpful in curbing the spread and the government, after spending loads of money under the pretext of spreading awareness has asked the panchayats to purchase these essentials items. But according to the sources, it is all a sham, as the government has failed to clear the bills of panchayats for the last couple of months.
The Constitution mandates Gram Panchayat with the powers to take policy decisions, but even in this hour of crisis, the civic bodies appear to be constrained in terms of doing anything for the locals, said a source.
The experts attribute the failure of the governance to the policy paralysis. They said that if the government decides to really decentralise the governance then the conditions will improve soon.
Experts allege that the 15th Finance Commission has made a lot of funds available to Gram Panchayats under different heads. Panchayats can easily buy essential equipment like oxygen machines at an average cost of Rs 5 lakh, they added. This way 609 Gram Panchayats in the Ujjain district can buy 3 to 5 thousand oxygen machines. This can prevent deaths that are occurring due to lack of oxygen-beds in almost every panchayat.
If over 23,000 panchayats in Madhya Pradesh buys even 5 machines, then millions of people can be saved from the clutches of death.
"We will ensure that corona medical kits are distributed to suspected patients during the house-to-house survey. Ten-bed isolation wards have been set up across 609 Gram Panchayats of the district and their monitoring is being done continuously. The funeral of corona infected or suspect patients in rural areas is a serious issue and it will be addressed soon. Payment against the purchase of masks and sanitisers will be cleared immediately."
ANKIT ASTHANA, CEO, ZILA PANCHAYAT