Category Archives: covid

Medical fraternity terms Bengal CM’s “diploma for doctors” & “civic nurses” proposals ‘unscientific’, fear ruin of health sector

On Thursday, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee came up with few absurd proposals during a review meeting of ‘Utkarsha Bangla’ which was launched under vocational training programme courses in the state. However, I having a personal experience with a victim who left the project because she accused the management of creating a mess, not just that but those who stay in the hostel are not even served proper facilities like food, water etc. I did a story on this harassment sometime back which you may read by scrolling down.

Let’s take a glance at the proposals that Mamata Banerjee suggested:

(1) Crash course for doctors to fill the vacant positions at respective hospitals across the state. Instructing state Health Secretary NS Nigam to look into the matter, Banerjee said, “You please find out whether we can start a diploma course for doctors, just like we have for engineers. Several boys and girls will get the opportunity to enroll for the medical course.”

(2) The Chief Minister suggested crash courses for nurses. She came up with a proposal for ‘Civic Nurse’. She said, “One can learn how to push injections or help with the pathological preparations within a stipulated time period. There are senior nurses to help doctors during surgery etc. These nurses can competent after the crash course and start working.”

(3) Taking of Law & Order, which is in total chaos in the state. Recently we saw police accused of protecting the criminals who had gang-raped the minor girl in Kaliaganj and subsequently running for protection when villagers united. Banerjee also the Police Minister, suggested crash courses for seven days after which they can be posted at respective police stations.

“The regular MBBS course takes five years to complete and asserted that a diploma course would address the shortage of doctors in the state. The proposed diploma course, as per sources within the West Bengal health department, could be of three years,” added Mamata Banerjee.

The medical fraternity in the state criticised the proposal. West Bengal Doctors Forum (WBDF) founder-secretary Dr Koushik Sarkar called the proposal as ‘unscientific’ and asked the state government to rethink. “The proposal of a three-year diploma course is not all scientific. I will request the state government to think scientifically,” added Dr Sarkar.

Regarding the crash course for police, experts condemned the proposal by saying there are numerous details apart from uniform and leading protocols that make a young incumbent qualified police personel. A retired top cop on a television debate said, “How is it possible as it takes months for an incumbent to understand and learn the basic legal aspects. Apart from that there are numerous details that a police personel must learn like recognising if it’s a murder or suicide and if murder etc. Crash course for police is absurd as it will reflect on their performance.”

The social media is abuz with taunts, critisism and condemnation. A popular journalist with a Bengali satelite news channel posted, “I am planning to give up journalism and take medical crash course.” Others too have been posting against the proposal.

Well, just the begining of another heated controversy that will take shape of a storm in the coming days. Presently, we have state medical fraternity protesting against the proposal but if Mamata Banerjee tries to impliment her proposal then it will acquire a country wide protest. Perhaps everything is “choto ghotona” (petty incident) for West Bengal Chief Minister.

“Healthcare gets big boost under PM Modi’s Make In India initiative,” says Deepti Sharma Joshi

“There is a huge scope of work in the field of health sector especially Oncology as when it comes to Cancer, it kills people from inside predominantly because of the huge cost incurred in treatment. Also, there is a misconception that all Cancers are fatal, the fact is it can get cured if detected at an early stage,” said Deepti Sharma Joshi who has had worked with Ranbaxy Laboratories Limited for over 23 years as their marketing head. She is associated with the wellness sector for over decades.

Deepti is a multifaceted person. She is an entrepreneur having ventured into a healthcare startup – Hindmed Healthcare Private Limited, along with her partner. “We wanted to start under the ‘Make In India’ project and the ‘Hindmed’ name in itself is significant. We had a tough time in finding the name but thank God we got it registered. I must compliment Government for providing enough support under the Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprise (MSME). Hindmed Healthcare Private Limited registered under the Government e Marketplace (GEM) portal. She is also the spokesperson for Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and takes active participation in party activities.

However, her “core field” is Oncology. She said, there are predominantly three ways how we can cure Cancer patients – (1) Medical Oncology, which comprises Chemo therapy. (2) Surgical Oncology (3) Radiation Oncology, where radiation is given to the patients. “Under the ‘Make In India’, we have made radiation oncology more comfortable. Previously, patients were to be inside the machines for 13 to 14 minutes. The gallantry size being small they would suffer from claustrophobia. The recent machines have 150 gallantry size and patients are kept only for three minutes as excessive radiation can also be dangerous,” added Deepti.

“Health tourism is the ‘buzz word’ today, there is a huge prospect in this field. Many patients from outside India come to our country for treatment. Poviding proper information can be a huge industry in itself as this is what they require – arranging their stay, procuring appointments from their doctors and helping them with their work as long as they are here. In short, to become their support base”, informed Deepti who had been herself associated with Medical tourism since long. However, she agreed that some unscrupulous vested interests have tarnished the profession as they are mere touts and would not hesitate to exploit the patients. “There are many agents or touts thronging railway stations, airports, and even hospitals who harass the patients. I have myself been vocal on this subject”, she said. She has taken the teams to various countries across the globe.

Staying with the health and wellness sector, Deepti agreed that once again COVID is spreading its uncanny paws with growing number of cases across India. However, Union Health Ministry is doing its best to combat the situation and is keeping an eye on the developments. Deepti said, “Things are shaping once again for the worst but there is no need to be scared at this moment. Yes, we should take precautions. Our Health department is alert.” She requested all to follow the COVID protocols and not to panic. “Please go to a doctor if you feel uneasy but abstain from self-medication as it spoils the entire mechanism. Please don’t do that,” said Deepti.

Deepti is also going to organise a health summit on July 5, 6, & 7 this year in Nairobi, Africa where over 48 countries will be participating and discussing various aspects of treatments apart from conducting healthcare camps and treating the patients especially those who cannot afford good treatment being one of the poor countries in the world. “I am quite excited about the summit and look forward to have interactions with the people from medical fraternity across 48 countries”, smiled Deepti.

Next 40-days crucial for India as COVID cases increasing at fast pace, says Union Health Minister

COVID is once again spreading its uncanny paws across the globe. China has already reported a large number of positive cases including deaths. The situation in China is grave and people are scared as the new variant of COVID is on the prowl. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has issued am advisory stating WHO will keep a close eye on the developments on China and will take adequate action after taking stock of the situation. United of States of America (USA) too has issued an alert on travelers.

Other countries too that witnessed a massive outbreak previously have taken up the recent jolt seriously and are mulling over issuing strictures making COVID protocols mandatory.

Back home in India, the situation at present is not that grave but Union Health Ministry has sounded an alert. Earlier, on Tuesday, Health Ministry conducted a mock drill across the country which was attended by the Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandviya himself. Talking to the media, the minister said the situation is not grave but there is a need to be more careful, as the saying goes, precaution is better than cure and people must follow the COVID protocols – Wearing masks, using hand sanitizers, and maintaining social distancing. “We are not trying to scare people but it’s an initiative to make people aware of the situation which is not serious at the moment but may turn serious any moment. However, there will be less possibility of pandemic if people take precautions”, said Mandviya who himself was at Delhi’s Safdurjung Hospital to take stock of the COVID preparedness.

With China witnessing a steep increase in the number of COVID cases due to coronavirus variant B.F7, the Union Health Ministry on Wednesday said the next 40 days would be crucial for India, as it might see a surge in infections in January. There are cases pouring in where travelers have been detected with COVID positivity in Kolkata, Odisha, Bihar, and Delhi. This has increased the fear of COVID more and on Thursday, the Union Health Ministry has issued a few advisories:

(1) Anybody who travels to India from China, Japan, Korea, Singapore will have to show the the COVID tests reports.
(2) Filling up of ‘air suvidha’ forms and 72-hour-old RT-PCR tests could be made mandatory from next week for passengers coming from China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Thailand and Singapore.
(3) On arrival the passengers will have to undergo a RT-PCR test at the airport.
(4) If the person is found to be positive then he or she will be sent to quarantine.
(5) The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has recommended that doctors receive the fourth dose of the COVID vaccine, but the Union Health Ministry has requested data from NTAGI before making a policy decision.

According to a statement released, the ministry said the average daily cases between October 7-13 were 2,408 (1.05%), which later reduced to 153 (0.14%) between December 16-22.

Is Bengal really prepared to face COVID variant BF.7 upsurge? CM, Heath Minister to continue with New Years bash & Ganga Sagar Mela

In wake of the recent upsurge in COVID across the globe, worst affected is China that is now under complete lockdown after it reported endless deaths. Back home in India too, the situation is under scanner as the Union Health Ministry is keeping a strict vigil on the situation. The Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya had chaired a high level health meeting on Wednesday followed by another meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The virtual meeting was attended by Home Minister Amit Shah, Health Minister Mandaviya alongwith senior officials including doctors.

The outcome of the meeting, the government said there was nothing to be scared at this moment but stressed on the need to follow COVID protocols. Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Karnataka, Assam even Punjab decided to follow COVID protocols. As expected West Bengal showed reluctance in implementing the COVID protocols at this moment.

Trinamool Supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee immediately after the meeting chaired by PM Modi, said her state is prepared for the adverse situation but she will not implement the COVID protocol at this hour as she does not feel the need for facemask. It seems Mamata Banerjee has not learn from the past experience. Last year, immediately after the New Year bash at Park Street (regular event) there was an upsurge of COVID. The medical fraternity had literally pleaded Banerjee with folding hands not to relax the protocols but she had turned a deaf ear to the requests of doctors. This year too inspite of the COVID scare, the West Bengal chief minister has announced ther will be New Years bash as usual and the Ganga Sagar Mela (an annual event) will not be carried as per schedule.

On Friday, Mansukh Mandaviya, chaired a virtual meeting with states and announced West Bengal will be a part of the countrywide mock drill on December 27 to ensure the readiness of infrastructure with a specific focus on oxygen plants, ventilators, logistics and human resources. State health minister Chandima Bhattacharya informed that the state is prepared for the situation. However, there was a total reluctance on the implementing of COVID protocols. “There will be a countrywide Covid-19 mock drill on December 27. West Bengal will be conducting the drill as well”, informed Bhattacharya. She said the state was continuing with genome sequencing. 

West Bengal had ignored the COVID protocols during Durga Puja, Diwali or Kali Puja, Christmas, New Years and Ganga Sagar Mela. The result of this was an upsurge in the COVID cases. The state government speaks of preparations, but the fact is it had under played the numbers of deaths in the previous surges. Not just this, but the death certificates were allegedly doctored as there was an unwritten stricture of putting any reason behind the death but COVID as it would bring the actual number in the glare. I myself met many such poor families who had lost their near and dear ones to the pandemic but did not either get the mortal remains from the hospital which was sent directly to the Dhapa ground for mass cremation or the death certificate carried different reason of death. I saw these people fuming but in tears. Yet, Chadrima Bhattacharya and Banerjee are talking of preparations to face any adverse situation.

Well, in such a situation all we can do is to keep our fingers crossed and pray no fatality are reported,

Don’t scare but follow COVID protocols and be safe, says Union Health Ministry

On Wednesday Union Health Minister, Mansukh Mandaviya convened a high level meeting to review the COVID situation in India and what are the precautions in wake of the pandemic gradually spreading its uncanny paws. However, the minister maintained that the situation is grave in China but in India its not even scary and people need not to worry as government is keeping a vigil on all the developments. It is just a precautionary measure to adhere to the COVID protocols and switch to masks, sanitizers, and maintain social distancing.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) Director General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also held a meeting to review the situation across China and said that WHO will keep a strict vigil on the development across the world. It said the situation in other parts of the world is not scary but there is a need to keep a vigil as precaution is better than cure.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a high level meeting to review the COVID situation ion the country and what are the preparations. The virtual meeting was attended by Mandaviya, Home Minister, Amit Shah, alongwith respective secretaries and senior officials.

The outcome of all these meetings are same and the government has reiterated that the situation is not grave and there is nothing to be scared. There is no plan to lockdown or announce a partial lockdown but the time is to be on alert and stay safe. Mandaviya earlier replied in the Parliament on the question raised by opposition asking what preparations have been done to face the situation if it turns grave. Replying to this the health minister said, government is taking all precautions, and have taken all preparation to face any adverse situation.

Earlier, Mandaviya tweeted stating there is nothing to be scared and situation is under control.

According to doctors the new variant BF.7 is serious than the previous one. The symptoms for this virus are – fever, fatigued, and loose motion or diarrhea. However, doctors reiterated that fever is not essential but if someone have fever alongwith these symptoms then its advisable to get checked.

Well, there is nothing to worry or get scared but its always advisable to follow the COVID protocols – wearing mask, using hand sanitizers, and maintain social distancing (thought this not possible at an individual level as one has to board on crowded public convivences or visit crowded places especially markets and roads for day to day activities).