Dr. IJS Bhatia

The people are scared, not because of the disease but because of the mismanagement of COVID-19. The doctors, the health workers, administrators, policymakers have no inter sector-coordination. Almost all the health programs failed in India due to poor human resource management.

As COVID-19 is spreading its pangs in villages of Punjab and the rest of India, the villagers have refused access to the medical teams of the state’s health machinery, mandatory COVID-19 tests, mandatory quarantine or treatment at government health care facilities. The actions are based on mistrust of the quarantine and treatment system.

53 years old female patient told me over the telephone that she is suffering from cough and fever. I advised her to get tested for COVID-19 from Government Medical College Hospital, Chandigarh. Her instant reply was that I do not want to be tested, a similar reply given by many suspected patients of Corona. 

Many suspected and probable patients are reluctant to confirm the diagnosis due to mistrust about the Government Health Services and unethical and unregulated private labs and nursing homes. There are so many rumours about the unethical practices basically due to non-communication between the health service providers and the stakeholders. As per guidelines, all the positive patients are to be reported to the local health authorities. 

There is an atmosphere of terror in villages. The fear and misinformation that has gripped the villages have already resulted in unfortunate incidents of violence against government workers. Many villages have passed the resolution for not testing for corona and the patients are not being handed over to Govt officials.

The Health service providers are totally demotivated. All are scared. Already hundreds of doctors have lost their lives due to Corona. It is difficult to do duties with limited manpower and infrastructure. Most of the medical staff is being compelled to perform their duties. The medical staff attending the emergency and deliveries are at very high risk. Nobody is there to communicate with the patients and attendants. 

To conclude, our doctors are very hardworking and intelligent but warriors can’t fight without equipment and hospitals are to be monitored by doctors, not by bureaucrats and politicians.  

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