Must Take Essential Measures to Protect the People


CPIML has written a letter to the Bihar government to ask for essential measures to protect the people from the escalating Covid crisis. The ramshackle health system on the ground is the main cause for current chaos and anarchy. The government must without delay make proper arrangements on a war footing for doctors, health workers and other basic infrastructure. Only then can this situation be tackled. For the time being, alternative arrangements can also be made. Minimum training can be arranged for PG students, RMS practitioners, rural nurses and people associated with health care so that they can make the people aware and show them the right way.

All big hospitals in Patna should be provided with a minimum of 500 Covid beds. District level hospitals should have 500 beds and 100 ventilators. All these arrangements need to be made at top priority.

On the one hand it is said that there is no shortage of oxygen while on the other hand people are gasping and dying for want of beds and oxygen. There is large scale black-marketing of oxygen and medicines and people are forced to buy oxygen at as high a rate as Rs 30,000 per cylinder. The government should monitor this strictly.

Bihar CPIML Secretary Kunal told that the government seems to have thought Covid a thing of the past and so made no preparations for a second wave. A 500-bed hospital in Bihata was closed for no reason. Now the Bihar Deputy CM is writing to the Centre for it to be re-started. Clearly, the Central and State governments had other priorities instead of concern for the people.

Meanwhile, CPIML has appealed to its MLAs and party activists to help the people in this time of crisis. Party activists are already among the people to serve them while maintaining Covid protocol. All the MLAs are leading from the front in their respective areas. A Covid Helpline Centre has been opened in Patna and help centres are also being run at hospitals. Food arrangements for the needy are also being ensured to the fullest possible extent.

MLA Manoj Manzil is leading an AISA-RYA team running a people's help centre at Ara and taking patients to hospital. Dumraon MLA Ajit Kushwaha led a team which visited Covid dedicated hospitals in Buxar. Paliganj MLA Sandeep Saurabh once again visited all the hospitals in his area. Terari MLA Sudama Prasad visited all the PHCs in his constituency as well as the District level hospitals. Ghoshi MLA Rambali Singh Yadav is active in Jehanabad Sadar hospital, as is Arwal MLA Mahanand Singh in his constituency. All the other MLAs are also consistently and actively serving the people in their respective areas.

Suggestions by CPIML at an All-party Meeting Called by the Governor of Bihar

1. The government should work on a war footing to improve the health system which has lost credibility in the eyes of the people. The following measures must be taken immediately to rebuild credibility in the eyes of the people:

A. Guarantee presence of doctors and other health workers in District and referral hospitals and PHCs and additional PHCs. Health workers who have been transferred outside should be asked to come back to duty here.

B. Posts created for doctors and other health workers should be filled without delay. Alternative arrangements can also be made for availability of doctors, health workers, technicians etc at these hospitals. The government should arrange minimum training for PG students, RMS practitioners, rural nurses and people associated with health care so that they can make the people alert and show them the right way.

C. Ensure availability of adequate amounts of basic infrastructure like electricity, essential medicines, beds, oxygen, ICU, ambulance and other equipment at these hospitals. A minimum of 100 ventilators need to be arranged at District hospitals.

D. While referring critically ill patients from lower to higher hospitals, it should be ensured that beds, oxygen ventilators etc are available at the higher hospital concerned. Patients should be referred only when such availability is guaranteed.

E. The government should update its Sanjeevan App every 6 hours so that the common people can get proper information about availability of beds and there should be no unnecessary running around or tussles. Helpline numbers issued by the government usually do not work. Please guarantee that these numbers are functional.

F. The government should provide free of cost thermometers, oximeters, and medicines for Covid patients in home quarantine.

G. In view of the crowds at vaccination centres, this service should be expanded.

2. A minimum of 500 oxygen beds and 100 ventilators should be guaranteed at all big hospitals in Pana, like PMCH, NMCH, IGIMS and AIIMS.

3. The government should monitor private hospitals to ensure no shortage of oxygen, ventilators etc. The government should bear the full cost for Covid patients.

4. Expand RT-PCR testing at District level and ensure result within 24 hours. Increase the number of testing centres so that infected persons can be identified and treated timely and further infection can be prevented.

5. Treatment of non-Covid patients should not be obstructed under any circumstances. Additional doctors and health workers should be arranged for this.

6. State level back-up teams should be in place to cope with the crisis of doctors and health workers becoming consistently infected.

7. All arrangements should be made for Corona testing and isolation of migrant workers returning from outside the State.

8. Due to the pandemic the poor are gradually beginning to face a food crisis. Therefore, work should be generated in MNREGA and work should be arranged on the same lines in cities also. All the poor including migrant workers should be given Rs 10000 subsistence allowance for the next 3 months as well as 6 months' free rations. All items of daily needs should be made available through PDS at affordable rates. Workers engaged in work at marriages and other functions have been badly affected by the pandemic. Alternative work and subsistence amount for them should also be arranged.

9. The government had issued insurance of 50 lakhs for all Corona warriors. It is extremely regrettable that the government scrapped this in the month of March. This insurance scheme should be re-started.

10. Emphasis should be laid on testing, tracing, treatment and social awareness. The government should regularly consult various political parties and social and voluntary organizations for discussions on this and expand this at the District level also.


Covid Crisis: Bihar Government Must Take Essential Measures

CPIML Demand Charter to Bihar Government

In addition to the above points, the CPIML has demanded from the Bihar Chief Minister to give emphasis of the following demands:

1. The Chief Minister of Bihar should guarantee that all-party meetings are organized regularly on State as well as District level. Such District level co-ordination and understanding can prove very useful in coping with the Corona crisis. CPIML has been asking for such meetings ever since the first phase of Covid and Lockdown.

2. People holding administrative positions should behave in a responsible manner. Even Prime Minister Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah are not even wearing masks during the Bengal elections. As such, measures for Covid prevention will lose their credibility among the people.

3. Everyone should get vaccination. The age limit of 45 years should be ended immediately.

4. So far treatment for Covid patients is available only in limited hospitals at higher levels, causing a lot of chaos. Covid treatment should be made available at Block/Subdivision/District level also. The number of ICU beds as well as general beds in all District hospitals should be increased forthwith.

5. Free Ambulance services in all hospitals should be increased.

6. RT-PCR test results are coming very late. Arrangements should be made for results within 24 hours and the number of testing should be increased so that the affected person gets prompt treatment and further spread of infection is prevented.

7. Covid treatment at district level private hospitals should be made available and the government should bear the cost for this.

8. Adequate supply of oxygen and Remdesivir should be ensured.

9. Safe and dignified return of migrant workers from outside the State should be guaranteed. Quarantine centres with all facilities should be ensured so that they do not become torture-houses like last year. Camps/Centres for migrant workers returning from outside should be established in big cities.

10. Guarantee employment generation and Generate work in MNREGA and arrange work in cities also on the same lines.

11. All poor including migrant workers should be paid a lump sum of Rs 10000 and 6 months' rations. The PDS system should be set right.

12. The government should act strictly against price rise and hoarding.

13. Children's education has come to a total standstill, which is not correct. Arrangements should be made for minimum studies to be conducted. Classes should be conducted via smart TV in poor Tolas.

14. Last year's Lockdown in the name of Corona prevention has left very bitter experiences that proved to be a disaster in itself. Therefore, instead of Lockdown the emphasis should be on creating awareness and understanding among the people. It should not be turned into a synonym for terror.

15. Panchayat elections should be postponed for the next 6 months. The term of the sitting Panchayats should be extended by 6 months for smooth functioning.

Bihar: Situation Grave due to Dire Conditions in Hospitals Handle the Mayhem in Bihar

The fear caused by shortage of beds, medicines, oxygen and ventilators is making people terrified of losing their lives and the lives of their loved ones. This time the infection is not limited to cities but is rampant in villages also. Newspapers and social media reports are showing a horrific picture. Amidst the all-round chaos people want to rush straightaway to Patna where they feel their lives can be saved, but beds and resources in Patna hospitals are limited. So far the government has not started bearing the costs of Covid patients in private hospitals and this makes the crisis even worse.

A CPIML team visited referral hospitals, PHC hospitals and isolation centres in Patna city and Patna District for the 2nd day on 22 April to highlight the continuing problems that are plaguing the battle against Covid. The 4-member team comprising leader of CPIML legislative party Mahboob Alam, Abhyuday, Ranvijay Kumar and Kumar Parvez visited NMCH, Patna AIIMS, Paras Hospital and IGIMS.

Further, Paliganj MLA Sandeep Saurabh visited the isolation centre to be opened from next day on 23rd April, along with various hospitals and isolation centres in Dulhin Bazaar, Vikram and Bihata. Phulwari MLA Gopal Ravidas visited different hospitals in Masaurhi and Dhanarua and took stock of the problems and issues.

Comrade Mahboob Alam said, after visiting NMCH, AIIMS, IGIMS and other hospitals, that these hospitals lack basic infrastructure and human resources. NMCH and AIIMS have 500 and 270 Covid beds respectively, while PMCH has a mere 12 beds and IGIMS is still in the preparatory state. The entire Patna city has not even 1000 specialised Covid beds. ICUs and beds with oxygen are even fewer in number. In such conditions the Bihar government must take concrete measures as advised by CPIML and by experts, which it had not taken during the last one year.

After speaking to hospital administrations it emerged that the situation is getting consistently worse because of the dire conditions in the lower hospitals, where the government has not even started treatment for Corona infected patients. On seeing the ramshackle and pathetic condition of these hospitals, people rush to Patna hospitals which then face huge pressure. Due to not receiving timely treatment or oxygen the patients become critical by the time they reach Patna and it becomes difficult to save them. If the government makes arrangements for treatment, medicines and minimum oxygen facilities at the lower level hospitals, the situation can be brought under control quite soon.

Many private hospitals are treating Covid patients but when the condition becomes critical they refer the patients to government run NMCH, PMCH or AIIMS. Patients have to spend huge amounts at private hospitals, and when they do not have any more money the hospital management refers them. The CPIML has demanded that the government should bear the expenses of Covid patients in private hospitals so that these hospitals do not put pressure on the patients.

MLA Sandeep Saurabh said that the isolation centre in the ITI at Khiri Road, Paliganj is opening very late and that will have only 10 beds provided with oxygen. Oxygen shortage at the lower levels is the biggest problem. Unless this is addressed the situation will get even worse. On speaking to officials about this he team found that they try to escape responsibility by passing the buck. There are no arrangements for critical patients at the lower level hospitals and they are referred to Patna. The isolation centre at Aryabhatt Teacher Training College in Dulhin Bazaar was not yet been started on 22nd April. There is desperate demand for oxygen at all centres but no arrangement in hospitals, and as a result many Covid patients are not being admitted.

Covid testing is being done at a very slow rate, thus worsening the situation. For example the Covid testing centre at NMCH is closed after the centre became infected, causing various kinds of problems in treatment. The government must take necessary steps to speed up testing and guarantee results within 24 hours so that treatment of patients can start on time and infection rate can be curbed.

The CPIML fact-finding team has prepared a report on these issues and sent it to the Health Department, Chief Secretary Bihar Government, and DM Patna asking to take necessary action immediately.

Take Essential Measures to Protect the People