‘We are unprepared’: Minorities Commission Ex-Vice Chairman Questions Preparedness For COVID-19

Minorities Commission Ex-Vice Chairman emphasizes on the disaster of Malaria & Dengue coming up as the monsoon arrives in 2 weeks.

Mumbai| Dr Abraham Mathai, Minorities Commission Ex-Vice Chairman, questions if the MCGM prepared to face a catastrophe of Malaria and Dengue coupled with COVID-19 with the onset of monsoons in less than two weeks from now.

“Or will they play God like doctors in Italy who decided who lives and who dies due to scarcity of hospital beds??”: Dr. Abraham further asks.

“With Mumbai having emerged as a national hotspot for COVID-19, and with hospital beds in the city falling short, another potential disaster like situation seems to be looming overhead.”

“The monsoon every year brings with it not just respite from the summer heat, but also waterborne diseases like malaria, typhoid and leptospirosis. Every year, Mumbai battles these diseases and hospital beds are often full and with the addition of Covid19 this year, the scenario looks really grim.”

“Over the past few weeks, almost every hospital in the city has been turned into a COVID hospital and even the ones which are not treating patients of the pandemic are choosing not to admit patients whom they out of fear suspect of having COVID like symptoms.”

“Yesterday a 62-year-old Shamsher Ali from Vakola died just because he missed his dialysis due to unavailability of a hospital bed. It is no secret that several critical non Covid19 patients suffering from heart, liver kidney and other ailments have died in the last couple of weeks due to the unavailability of beds in hospitals,” Chairman of Harmony Foundation said.

“Denying treatment to critical patients violates their fundamental right to life which is guaranteed under article 21 of our constitution.”

“It is going to be a disastrous scenario in the coming monsoon if patients are turned away since they may not even have the dreaded virus, but only about malaria, dengue or leptospirosis.”

“The government under the leadership of bureaucrats has been doing all it can but there is so much more that ought to be done. Blood donations should be carried out on a war footing so that platelets can be harvested and offered to those who will need it after suffering from dengue.”

“Moreover, the city and state will also have to prepare for a scenario where the patient will not just have malaria, dengue, typhoid or leptospirosis, but these diseases could be accompanied by COVID19,” former Vice Chairman of Minorities Commission said.

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“Our health care system is already overwhelmed at the moment due to the COVID19 pandemic. Hospitals are full and overcrowded with emergency wards and quarantine centres set up in stadiums and open grounds. I wonder why the Jio World Centre in BKC with an over a million sqft unused covered area is not being taken under Epidemic Act and instead of temporary sheds for hospitals are being constructed on MMRDA grounds unless the said act possibly excludes certain privileged business houses !!”

“The possibilities are endless and unfortunately, with no available hospital beds, we are unprepared to face a bigger calamity possibly awaiting to strike us.”

“With the city and state being locked down, urgent work needs to be carried out by the state government and the MCGM to ensure desilting and fumigation with the present available migrant workers to ensure that mosquitoes do not breed. Every open water body that could become a potential breeding ground needs to be checked and urgent care is taken to ensure that the same does not result in a potential hotspot for mosquitoes,” former Vice Chairman of Minorities Commission said.

“My letter dated 21st March to the Government and the then Municipal Commissioner regarding Dharavi being a ticking time bomb and the urgent need for the immediate deployment of the 45,000 Home Guards to ensure physical distancing probably fell on deaf ears. Had the 45,000 Home Guards been properly utilized on a war footing then, the numbers of Covid19 in Mumbai would not have surged to these levels today as the first Covid19 positive case in Dharavi was reported only on 1st April.”

“Thereafter I wrote to the Govt that the fight against COVID-19 pandemic in Mumbai somehow lacks strategic leadership and should be led by Medical experts and not bureaucrats anymore.
Today bureaucrats are heading the operations in this war against Covid19 with the medical fraternity playing second fiddle while it actually has to be the other way around. This is not a flood, earthquake or a natural disaster where bureaucrats use their administrative skills for crisis management but this is a global pandemic which needs professional medical governance where even non-Covid19 patients will not be ignored and left to die.”

“Today there is a lot of pre-monsoon work pending, and we cannot afford to lose any more time. The government needs to begin this work on a war footing or else the sheer number of those affected by monsoon water-borne diseases clubbed with Covid-19 could possibly rise to a couple of lakhs just in Mumbai alone. Then the Govt would have no option and will be compelled to play God like the doctors in Italy did and decide who lives and who dies for lack of hospital beds.
All that we as citizens can do is pray to God for His mercy on our city and that His rights over life and death are not usurped by our Government,” Dr Abraham Mathai, former Vice Chairman of Minorities Commission says.

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