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Why Telangana’s Covid-19 muddle is getting messier

Epidemiologists point out that Telangana now needs to enforce a comprehensive preventive strategy to arrest the transmission of the disease.

 |  Sunny Side Down  |  2-minute read |   17-07-2020
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On July 15, the Telangana government transferred out the Special Chief Secretary Health A Santi Kumari and the Public Health and Family Welfare Commissioner Yogita Rana in the wake of growing criticism.

This includes the suggestions of the state governor Dr Tamilisai Soundararajan and the observations of the High Court division bench comprising Chief Justice Raghavendra Singh Chauhan and Justice B Vijayasen Reddy, about the state’s handling of the Covid-19 situation. Hours earlier, shocking images of waterlogging of the wards of the largest public hospital, Osmania General Hospital, Hyderabad, went viral.

The transfer of key health department officials is symptomatic of the muddle in the strategies being pursued by the state in Covid-19 management. The countrywide average mortality rate of Covid-19 patients hovers between 2.7 per cent and three per cent while in Telangana it is just one per cent.

“Apart from less mortality Covid-19 patients are recovering quickly and in large numbers, which is a very encouraging sign for the state. At present, the recovery rate is 66 per cent while the country wide average is 62 per cent,” says Director of Public Health and Family Welfare Dr G Srinivasa Rao.

At first, the state did not take the issue seriously enough though it did constitute a five member committee in the last week of March “to study global developments with regard to the novel coronavirus and suggest measures on how to contain the spread of the virus.” Epidemiologists point out that Telangana now needs to enforce a comprehensive preventive strategy to arrest the transmission of the disease.

They say the next possible steps of the government should be based on the suggestions made by a panel of public health experts. Meanwhile, the government is gradually moving towards decentralisation where Covid-19 facilities will be available in all government hospitals. “I urge people in districts to first visit their local teaching hospital, instead of travelling to the Gandhi Hospital in Hyderabad,” suggests the Director of Medical Education Dr K Ramesh Reddy.

“The Chief Minister should restore public confidence in government hospitals,” says the Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy. “Though the Gandhi Hospital is the state’s largest Covid isolation centre, has over 200 ventilators and yet, people are scared to get admitted there.” Decades of neglect makes it hard to alter the perception that public hospital services are bad despite recent additions to treat Covid patients.

(Courtesy of Mail Today)

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Writer

Amarnath K Menon Amarnath K Menon @amarnathkmenon

The writer is Senior Deputy Editor, India Today and is based in Hyderabad.

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