Lucknow Battles Corona But Basic Safeguards Are Hard To Fetch

LUCKNOW || As fear and panic grips the average citizen in the city of Lucknow over the Novel Coronavirus, repeated attempts to get a mask got delayed with the availability of masks a problem.

Similarly with growing demand of sanitizers, both the big and medium sanitizer bottles have been hard to fetch. As if that was not enough, even hospitals are finding it hard to fight the COVID – 19 pandemic with masks and gloves not available for the doctors on call.

The state government has sent out warnings against hoarding and black marketing of essential commodities amid shutdown. The state government has upped the vigil to monitor supplies of medicines, disinfectants and other essentials. Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Avanish Kumar Awasthi has warned black marketeers and has said this would invite dire legal action, including slapping of the National Security Act (NSA).

The MSME units have been asked to ramp up production of hand sanitizer, masks and disinfectant contents. The developments coincide with a recent expose where a factory manufacturing fake hand sanitisers went bust. The action was taken on a tipoff by, leading to Lucknow administration and drug administration department raiding Mahalakshmi Chemicals in Nishatganj recovering 10,000 bottles, 100 ml each, of fake sanitisers.

While several people in the city have been talking of problems despite medical shops running a full house, the fears were further amplified when in a disturbing development the Association of Resident Doctors at King George’s Medical University (KGMU) wrote a letter to the Vice-Chancellor, stating that doctors are ‘scared’ and ‘worried’ because the treatment of coronavirus patients is not protective. Do not have tools such as masks and gloves.

This has been brought to our notice from senior and junior resident (SR / JR) doctors from various departments, who are working without PPE gear to residents who are suspected and involved in confirmation. “RDA President Rahul Bharat said in his letter to Vice Chancellor Professor ML Bhatt.

The letter states, “We fear such work situations because it brings with it emotional and psychological stress. We request you to provide PPE gear for proper work without danger of infection”.

Bharat claimed that PPE kits were also not available in the isolation ward, while doctors working in flu and fever OP were not being given masks. “Ideally, all nursing / paramedical staff working in these wards and OPDs should also be given N-95 or triple-layered masks.” He also claimed that the sanitizer was provided to the residents of Pulmonary, Anesthesia and Cardiology OPD on Monday only after the RDA letter reached the VC.

KGMU officials though maintain PPE kits were provided to all those deployed in the isolation ward. He said that those who were attending patients at the flu and fever clinic were asked to maintain the necessary distance from the patients. More than 150 resident doctors, mostly postgraduate and super-specialty course students, are the backbone of the university’s health system. KGMU is currently the centre of coronavirus testing and treatment in the state.

Chief Medical Superintendent SN Sankhwar has said PPE kits are being provided as per the guidelines of the Indian Council of Medical Research who come in direct contact with suspected and confirmed cases in the isolation ward. 100 PPE kits are being used in isolation wards where corona patients are admitted and tested in a microbiology lab. It maintains a permanent backup of 600 PPE kits. They have the required number of masks.

In the Flu and Fever Clinic, all patients undergo infra-red thermal scanning performed by a paramedic from a safe distance of 5 feet. Symptoms of corona virus — along with fever and dry cough — are sent in isolation. The ward immediately, therefore, has no direct contact with the patient. Patients with the flu, suspected to have swine flu, are attended by doctors wearing masks and gloves.

Shashi Singh, a nurse from Ram Manohar Lohia Institute of Medical Sciences (RMLIMS), posted a video on social media claiming that she had masks and gloves while patients were not being provided treatment. RMLIMS spokesperson Shrikesh Singh speaking to the media has said that the video is misleading and Shashi Singh is not a permanent employee of the hospital. He said that 3,000 personal protective kits were provided to employees.

–Arijit Bose/Lucknow

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