The 2nd wave of Covid has thoroughly exposed Bihar's health system. If this system had worked properly, people's lives could have been saved. Health has become an extensive people's issue today. CPIML is conducting a campaign 'Swasth Bihar-Hamara Adhikar' (A Healthy Bihar is our Right) in Bihar since 1 July. The campaign was launched through an extensive virtual people's conference on this issue. A wide participation by medical professionals took place in this conference. The aim of the campaign is to build a widespread health movement in the state with the participation of IMA, doctors, nurses, ASHA workers, health care workers and activists and common people. On the issue of right to health for all, protests were also held on 22 June at hospitals across Bihar demanding structural health reforms.
The Bihar government's announcement of proposed vaccination of 6 crore people in 6 months will not prevent the 3rd wave of Covid. The government must guarantee vaccination for all within a period of 3 months, and must do whatever is needed to ensure this. Under a joint appeal by intellectuals and social activists a campaign is being run to mourn every death that has occurred during the Covid pandemic period. Party’s Bihar secretary said on the launch of the campaign that the governments want us to forget these deaths but we shall question and ask for accountability for each death. Efforts are on to speak to victim families from village to village and share their sorrow, and programs will continue to be organized in memory of loved ones every Sunday. We are working on a comprehensive list of all those who died during the Covid period, he said. The preliminary reports coming from districts including Bhojpur, Patna, Arwal, Jehanabad, Siwan, Buxar and Darbhanga expose the lies of the government.
The CPIML is also organizing a campaign for survey of hospitals, the final report of this survey will be submitted to the Bihar government. The party has earlier demanded that the Patna High Court should institute an enquiry under its supervision into the uncounted Covid deaths, while trying to put pressure on the government for Rs 4 lakhs minimum compensation for every death that occurred during the Covid pandemic period, and this will be one of the main issues of this campaign.
According to village level survey reports from Bhojpur, a district where the survey of about half of the Panchayats in the District has been completed till now, out of the 247 villages surveyed in 107 Panchayats, 1424 people have died of Covid symptoms. 178 other deaths have also occurred, making the total number of deaths 1602. Of these, only 178 were tested for Covid. Not a single person has so far received compensation. On the basis of this projection, 3000 deaths have occurred in Bhojpur and over 1 lakh deaths in the whole of Bihar. However, government statistics show a mere 102 deaths in Bhojpur. Clearly the government is fudging death statistics. When our full enquiry report comes, the government's lies will be further exposed, comrade Kunal informed to the media.
The report from Agiaon constituency on government hospitals lays bare Bihar's decrepit health system. On the Block level the constituency has 2 Primary Health Centres, 1 Community Health Centre, and 3 Additional Primary Health Centres. On the Panchayat level there are 41 Health Sub-Centres, of which only 17 have government buildings and even those are in dilapidated condition. There is a dire shortage of doctors, nurses, other health workers and medical facilities. How can such a loose health system cope with the demands of a pandemic attack?
Residents of Defence Colony Society, Kankarbagh, Patna organized 'Apnon ki Yaad' on 27 June in memory of the 5 people from the colony as well as all the other people across the country who were snatched away by Covid-19. Two minutes' silence was observed and flowers offered at the portraits of the loved ones who fell victim to Covid.
Citizens residing in Defence Colony participated in the program in full strength. So far 5 people from the colony have lost their lives to Covid, including Parasnath Rai, Prof Gaurinath Rai, Manju Chaudhury and Amit Kumar. Residents of the colony took turns to pay floral tribute to the loved ones.
A brief meeting was held on the occasion at which many mourners expressed condolences, including CPIML leaders Ranvijay Kumar, Amol Kumar, Vindhyachal Prasad, Shivnandan Prasad, Amarnath, Radheyshyam, Rakesh Kumar and the mourning family members including Kiran Prasad, Bittu Kumar and others. A pledge was taken to maintain social harmony and help one another in difficult times. The residents demanded that the government should strengthen the health system so that no citizen is snatched away by Covid in future.
It was decided at the meeting to plant trees in the Defence Colony park on the next Sunday (4 July) in memory of the dead. It was also decided to send an application to the government for Rs 4 lakhs compensation for the families of the deceased.