New Delhi, May 18 (ILNS): The Allahabad High Court has observed that the citizens of Uttar Pradesh are being led towards the third wave of pandemic, while expressing its dissatisfaction at the steps taken by the UP government to test the rural population for COVID-19 and for enhancing the medical and health infrastructure in remote areas.
The Division Bench of Justices Siddhartha Varma and Ajit Kumar made this observation in an order passed while hearing a PIL, ‘Inhuman Condition At Quarantine Centres And For Providing Better Treatment To Corona Positive’.
The Court said: “If this is the state of affairs of five districts, one can guess where we are leading people of this state to, the third wave of the pandemic.”
The court stated that upon perusal of the report submitted by the District Magistrates, “We have no hesitation in observing that health infrastructure is absolutely insufficient in city areas to meet the requirement of city population and the rural areas. The Community Health Centres are virtually lacking in respect of life-saving gadgets. In most of the districts, the Level-3 hospital facilities are not there.”
The Court cited the example of Bijnor district as a test case to assess the overall health care system in smaller cities and rural areas of the state. In Bijnor, the urban population as per the 2011 census, is shown to be 92,5312.
“We have no doubt in observing that it must have gone up 25 percent more by 2021, but to our utter surprise, there is no level-3 hospital in district Bijnor. The three government hospitals have only 150 beds, whereas, the total of number if BIPAP machines is 5 and High Flow Nasal Cannula is only 2.
The Court opined: “Thus, these important life saving devices in these days of pandemic where lungs with covid involvement are resulting in serious breathing problems, are very negligible in number. The rural population in the Tehsils is around 2,75,5000, again as per 2011 census, and so it must have also increased 25% by now. If we take the population of rural areas to be 32 lakhs then since there are only 10 Community Health Centres, so one health centre has the load of 3 lakh people and against 3 lakh people it has only 30 beds. Meaning thereby, one CHC can cater the need of health care to only 0.01% population and there is no BIPAP machine or High Flow Nasal Cannula available. Only 17 oxygen concentrators are available with 250 oxygen cylinders against 300 beds”.
The district magistrate of Bijnor informed the court that these facilities were available since the first wave of Pandemic had hit the State. Meaning thereby, there has been no further increase in supply of life saving gadgets to district Bijnor since last one year and thus the situation has not improved at all in terms of health care in district Bijnor.
The Court stated that the number of testing in the urban areas so far has been 26,245 since March 31, 2021 till May 12, 2021 and in rural areas it has been 65,491 during the same period. The District Magistrate, Bijnor informed that testing for Covid was being done both by RT-PCR and Antigen kit in 60:40 ratio. In the population of 32 lakhs, if the testing is done of only 1,200 persons and that too in 60:40 ratio then the situation is not happy. The manner in which the pandemic has hit the rural areas of the State, the District administration is required to have a robust way of conducting tests.
The Court also noted: “If we have to test 30% of the population i.e. almost 10 lakhs in the rural areas of district Bijnor within three month’s time, then we will have to conduct 10,000 tests per day, but from the statement made by the District Magistrate we do not see any such robust testing in near future in district Bijnor and condition in other four districts are also same. If this is the state of affairs of five districts, one can guess where we are leading people of this State to i.e. third wave of the pandemic.”
Therefore, the court directed the state government to immediately improve and increase the testing methods of the rural population and the population of small cities and towns and also provide sufficient health care infrastructure. ILNS\AP\SJ\RJ