Letters

Letters to the Editor — April 26, 2021

Patient safety

It is distressing that several COVID-19 affected patients admitted in various hospitals are losing their lives almost every day as a result of oxygen/fire-related incidents. The fact that the national capital, home to constitutional, judicial and executive heads, is seeing several fatalities due to the oxygen crisis points to shoddy planning, inadequate attention and inept handling of the medical crisis. Ensuring foolproof safety norms in hospitals should be on a par with quality care being provided to patients. Untoward incidents should be averted at all costs.

V. Johan Dhanakumar,

Chennai

 

Free vaccines

CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ensure free vaccines for all. While his pain and distress over the unprecedented health and humanitarian crisis is quite understandable, is it not fair to ask what the need is for giving free vaccines to those who can very easily afford it? It is their bounden duty to help the country fight the pandemic at least by paying for the vaccine.

C.G. Kuriakose,

Malippara, Kothamangalam, Kerala

 

ECIL blazed a trail

The article, “The first big byte” (Open Page, April 25), could have touched upon several important aspects of the Electronics Corporation of India Limited’s achievements in the computer field which was then in its infancy in the country, with breakthroughs made possible by Dr. A.S. Rao and Dr. Srikantan. The ECIL developed the entire system software, such as operating systems and language compilers from scratch. It developed for the first time, application software packages for telecom, Post and Telegraph (as it was known those days), banks, insurance, the police, the armed forces and real time applications for space, atomic energy process control industries. It also developed several replacement systems for imported computer systems. The ECIL by way of its activities in frontier areas created a huge pool of skilled manpower which later got dispersed to form the core manpower capital for the development of IT industries across the length and breadth of the country.

P.V.L. Narasimham,

Secunderabad

 

Civil society organisations and the COVID-19 fight

I write this letter as a former Judge, Supreme Court of India. The media is full of reports relating to the travails of COVID-19 patients and their family members in getting beds in hospitals and oxygen supply, during the second COVID-19 wave. It is reported that Bengaluru district has the highest number of active COVID cases in India (1.5 lakh cases, which is likely to double in the coming weeks). Experts have started advising that temporary medical centres should be set up on a war-footing to stabilise COVID-19 patients, and if necessary, to start triage operations. It is also reported that the Centre intends to mobilise the support of a lakh or more civil society organisations and non-governmental organisations across the country to fight the COVID-19 surge, and has urged State governments to enlist their participation.

There is a need for active participation of civil society in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. To meet the challenges of the current alarming situation in Bengaluru, the need of the hour is to get the thinkers, the doers and the donors to come together and find the ways and the means to fight the second wave. One obvious solution is to set up local COVID-19 care centres in each locality to provide relief to those affected by the second wave of COVID-19.

If Bengaluru has one thing in abundance, it is ‘convention or marriage halls’ in every locality. They have huge halls with common washroom facilities and also a few rooms with washrooms. Most of these halls are now not in use due to the pandemic. Each locality also has educational institutions with classrooms not in use (either due to online classes or annual vacations). They have the potential to be converted into temporary COVID-19 care centres.

Bengaluru has many philanthropists ready to contribute for genuine and meaningful causes such as the fight against COVID-19. There are also several institutions and individuals providing assistance in specific fields such as the distribution of medical kits, food, oxygen, etc., They can be potential donors providing the funds and supplies.

Bengaluru has a large number of qualified medical practitioners, para-medics and nursing staff. They can provide the personnel(either on remuneration or as voluntary service).

If civil society organisations (or even individual co-ordinators) can effectively identify the places (function halls or halls in education institutions, or other places which are available on hire or otherwise), the donors (persons willing to contribute funds for the infrastructure and treatment) and the personnel (doctors, para-medical staff, nurses and volunteers) they will be able to organise and run local COVID-19 relief centres.

There is, therefore, an urgent need for an easily accessible rapid response centre for data collection and dissemination which can invite, collect and maintain the required data (about places, donors and medical/para-medical personnel) so that civil society organisations (or individual co-ordinators) can access the necessary data to assemble the infrastructure-donors-personnel into functional COVID-19 care centres in every locality. Any newspaper or news channel can also set up a cell to collect and make available the required information through its website.

The State should provide assistance to such civil society organisations by ensuring that there is no unwarranted bureaucratic red tape or political interference to their functioning and also extend protection and indemnity in regard to the free service rendered by them.

The civil society organisations, on setting up the local COVID-19 care centres may take the following steps: Notify the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) about the COVID-19 are centre and the services available; establish a link with a COVID-19 treating hospital; locally publicise the availability of the facilities; create awareness among the citizens of the locality; start providing out-patient treatment, testing facility and in-patient treatment for those with moderate symptoms or those who are asymptomatic, and refer serious cases to the COVID-19 treating hospital with ICU facilities.

A majority of those who have tested positive require only guidance, medicines and counselling for self-quarantine. Many belonging to the poorer or the weaker sections, who cannot manage home quarantine or home-isolation due to non-availability of separate rooms with washrooms in their houses, can be admitted and treated in such COVID-19 care centres.

When much needed hospital beds/facilities are occupied by patients who do not really require them, patients more seriously-ill are denied treatment. If COVID-19 are centres run by civil society organisations can take the load of patients who require moderate care (and thereby supplement the COVID-19 care centres run by the government/BBMP), the COVID-19 care hospitals can concentrate on patients who are more serious and save lives.

The citizens of Bengaluru should rise to the occasion and fight COVID-19 By contributing whatever is possible — ideas, funds, places/infrastructure, or service. There is no time to lose.

R.V. Raveendran,

Bengaluru


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Printable version | Jun 21, 2021 1:07:19 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/letters/letters-to-the-editor-april-26-2021/article34408965.ece

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