As Goa witnessed a surge in coronavirus cases from June, the state’s medical infrastructure was bound to feel the pressure – and it rightly did. With a majority – almost 80% – of the cases being asymptomatic patients, covid care centres were found to be the ideal solution, as majority of the covid positive patients, those with mild to no symptoms needed was self-isolation – possible even at home – though a privilege in our today’s scenario as a society.
However, as numbers jumped from hundreds to thousands and with an increase in co-morbid conditions of COVID-19 positive patients, the then, lone COVID-19 ESI hospital – which was at the forefront in the state’s battle against COVID-19 – began to feel the load.
After series of discussions, private entities – Apollo Victor hospital in Margao and Manipal Hospital in Miramar – were brought on board, both known for their medical infrastructure, and also their exorbitant rates. However, the private sector treating COVID-19 patients has only seemed to have been benefitted by persons with class – political leaders and legislators in the state.
To perspective, Director of Health Services, Dr. Jose D’Sa tested positive for the coronavirus infection. However, being the director of the state’s health services – the agency at the forefront of Goa’s fight against COIVD-19 – and as the nodal agency ramping up the state’s health infrastructure at government hospitals, he has got himself admitted at a private hospital.
Though a reasonable argument would be that it is a ‘personal choice’, one can also maintain the role of a director in setting an example to the people of the state. At a time when fear of the virus is at its peak and health agencies claim to provide the best medical facilities at government hospitals, the role of the health department’s head, itself creates a large cynicism among the people.
Furthermore, political leaders infected with coronavirus in the state, from Union AYUSH Minister to local MLA’s – excluding one who recovered much before private hospitals were brought on board – have chosen private Manipal hospital to get admitted at.
Also, doctors from New Delhi’s AIIMS were swiftly flown in to monitor AYUSH minister’s health condition; the need for this still looms a larger question of favouritism in treatment granted to leaders against that given to common citizens of the state.
A growing question however thus remains, if political leaders vouch for Goa Medical College (GMC) and ESI hospital as best medical facilities to treat COVID-19, why does the political brass refrain from getting themselves treated at such ‘well-acclaimed’ establishments.
Opposition leader Digambar Kamat claiming that the state’s health care stands exposed said, “As Director Health Services himself gets admitted in private hospital after testing #CovidPositive, The preparedness of @GovtofGoa on handling & management of #CoronaPandemic & #PublicHealthCare stands completely exposed. Now, I can only pray to God for well being of all.”
As Director Health Services himself gets admitted in private hospital after testing #CovidPositive, The preparedness of @GovtofGoa on handling & management of #CoronaPandemic & #PublicHealthCare stands completely exposed. Now, i can only pray to God for well being of all. @INCGoa
— Digambar Kamat (@digambarkamat) August 27, 2020
Three wards at the Goa Medical College and Hospital (GMC) have been converted to treat patients with co-morbid conditions and those needed extreme medical treatments. The Health minister had said, that the new arrangement at GMC will enable super specialists from GMC to better monitor the patients.
The state currently has crossed 15,000 total confirmed cases, 3445 of them being active cases, with 171 deaths reported.
Sadly, 1% of Goa’s population has been tested confirmed positive – the first state in India to reach this grim milestone of first state in India to reach this grim milestone. Also, the state’s mortality rates stands at 1.2%.
The state’s top medical institution at the forefront of the pandemic – GMC and ESI – has, and continues to play a pivotal role in Goa’s fight against COVID-19. The citizens however hope, that the state is able to provide them with the best treatment during this pandemic, because for many, private hospitals may just be out of their ‘league’.