Meghalaya: Opposition Congress write to CM Conrad on COVID situation in the state

The MLAs through the letter highlighted the reasons for the uncontrolled surge of the infection and requested the government to take some concrete measures to contain the virus.


Opposition Congress MLAs, on Saturday, wrote a letter to the Chief Minister of Meghalaya Conrad K Sangma urging him to look into the exponential growth of COVID-19 cases in the state, which has become a matter of great concern for the citizens and residents alike.

The MLAs through the letter highlighted the reasons for the uncontrolled surge of the infection and requested the government to take some concrete measures to contain the virus.

They stated that one of the primary reason for the spread of the virus is home isolation, as many of the citizens in the state do not have proper accommodation in their homes.

"The concern of isolation centres for COVID-19 patients was repeatedly raised to alert the government so that it can ensure proper isolation facilities across the state," the members stated in the letter.

The MLAs also sought the attention of the sudden and severe strain on the healthcare system which has affected the frontline workers to a great extent.

"The frontline workers have not got proper rest nor do the hospitals have proper accommodation to ensure that their health is also taken care of," they wrote.

Keeping the grim situation in mind, the members have suggested the government take these steps immediately:

Support Systems for community quarantine centres

Even though the Government has instructed the Districts to identify the Community Quarantine Centres, there has been no communication as to how the identified centres would be managed. The members have therefore suggested that every CHC and PHC should mandatorily identify such centres. 

They suggested that in urban areas, all the schools and open grounds (with temporary tents) can be utilised as community quarantine centres.  Such centres should also be provided with beds and mattresses, toiletries, medical and support staff, especially essentials like food and medicines. So far, the District Administration has not received any kind of instruction in this regard on how the identification should be done and how they should be managed. 

The members urged the CM to expedite the instructions along with necessary resource support to ensure proper and immediate isolation of positive cases considering the extremely high infectious rate of the second wave. 

Identification of dedicated hospital for COVID-19 care

The second point that the opposition suggested is concerning dedicated COVID--19 hospitals in the state. They said that since all hospitals currently offer medical aid to both COVID and non-COVID cases, the government should declare some hospitals in Shillong agglomeration exclusive for COVID patients.

They maintained that the step will reduce the strain on the health care system and dedicated medical experts can be deployed in such hospitals. Non-Covid cases can therefore be kept separately thus reducing the chances of infection.

Pointing out the advantage of having dedicated COVID hospitals, the members wrote, "For instance, if the TB Hospital in Umsawli is identified as a COVID care hospital, dedicated doctors and medical staff, beds, ICUs, ventilators can be arranged. This will ensure dedicated and concentrated efforts for COVID care. If 2-3 such dedicated hospitals are included it will ease the pressure across the medical fraternity and shifts can be planned for them."

COVID related expenses under MHIS

The letter also delved into the financial burden imposed on the public due to the pandemic. They stated that the lockdown has slowed down economic activities across the state and families have been hit hard financially.

Hence, they suggested that all COVID related expenses must be covered under the MHIS. MHIS registered families who test positive for COVID-19 must be covered under the scheme.

"Due to COVID-19, all categories of patients have to suffer additional medical expenses for various COVID-19 related items like masks, PPEs, tests etc. required during their treatment. However, the package under MHIS does not give 100% coverage for such expenses. We request that all Covid19 related expenses should be 100% covered under MHIS for all patients," the letter pointed out.

Immunisation centres not to be in hospitals treating COVID

The opposition members pointed out that the healthcare workers involved in immunisation programmes should not be placed in hospitals as they are facing a tremendous workload. Hence, they suggested that dedicated vaccine/immunisation centres may be created in few places especially in the urban areas, with makeshift arrangements where necessary. 

They added that additional and separate vaccination teams should be identified to handle the entire immunisation process. This will reduce the workload on the frontline workers and at the same time reduce the probability of infections spreading amongst the people.  

They maintained that the process of vaccination needs smoothening as the age-wise segregation from 18-44 and 45+ is creating confusion for the vaccination teams at the ground level, as well as for the people. 

(Edited by Shankar Kumar Turha)

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