MP minister’s praise for private hospitals’ role in Covid-19 fight upsets govt health professionals
Madhya Pradesh government’s applause for state’s private hospitals’ contribution in the fight against Covid-19 has not gone down well with the public health professionals, who claim, it has undermined their efforts, sacrifice and challenges.
On Monday, health minister Narottam Mishra attended a function organised by Chirayu Medical College, Bhopal, to mark the recovery of about 1,000 Covid patients at the facility.
Mishra showered praises on the medical college chairman Dr Ajay Goenka who he said had rendered “a yeoman service” to people of Bhopal and added, that “Chirayu hospital has become no. 1 in the country to send back a 1,000 patients home after successful treatment.”
In the health bulletin released on Monday night, Mishra’s department suggested that the total number of patients discharged from hospitals in Bhopal till date stood at 963. As per health department officials, these 963 patients out of the total 1,515 registered in Bhopal, include 125 patients discharged from AIIMS, Bhopal, about 50 from Hamidia Hospital, 43 from Homoeopathy Medical College and two from a private hospital.
Bhopal has registered the second highest number of deaths in the state- 59-- after Indore, which has witnessed 135 deaths as per the health department bulletin. Of the 59 deaths in the city, 38 were reported from Hamidia hospital, 11 from AIIMS, Bhopal and remaining from Chirayu. Ujjain has the third highest number of deaths at 58.
The function at Chirayu Hospital, Bhopal was followed by advertisement by Sri Aurobindo Institute of Medical Sciences, Indore on Tuesday, claiming to be only such hospital in the country that has discharged more than 1,600 Covid patients. Notably, the medical college also highlighted a Tweet post of health minister Narottam Mishra, which read, “Congratulations to Aurobindo Medical college for remarkable achievements in the field of plasma therapy. This has come as a new ray of hope for treatment of Covid-19.”
Medical fraternity associated with the public health system reacted to the private medical colleges’ claims and the state government’s support to them with disappointment.
“We expect of the government to highlight the achievements of the public health system too. The government doctors and other health department personnel have risked their lives during survey, screening, collection of samples, test and treatment,” said Dr Devendra Goswami, president of MP Medical Officers Association, Madhya Pradesh.
Dr Jyoti Bindal, dean of MGM Medical College, Indore said, “Since more patients were admitted to private medical colleges, the number of recoveries is on the higher side. We are also doing well and there is good recovery (rate) of patients in our medical college also.”
Dr Pravin Jadia, ex-chief medical and health officer of Indore, agreed with Dr Bindal.
“Both government and private facilities are giving same medical treatment as per WHO guidelines, but since government hospitals have limited number of beds in comparison to private medical colleges, the number of patients discharged from private facilities is on the higher side,” he said.
A health department official, who didn’t want to be named, said, “The government must understand that going gaga over private medical colleges’ claims without knowing the number of serious patients and asymptomatic ones will adversely affect the morale of the government doctors and the para medical staff.”
Public health expert Amulya Nidhi said, “It’s unfortunate that instead of focusing on strengthening the public health system and boosting the morale of its own doctors and para-medical staff, the government is sending out a message that public healthcare system is unable to control the situation and treat the patients.”
Dr Parag Sharma, spokesperson for Gandhi Medical College, Bhopal said there was a reason for more Covid-19 deaths at Hamidia.
“Hamidia and AIIMS, Bhopal have been receiving such patients who fall under severe acute respiratory syndrome, right from day one, when many hospitals didn’t accept patients with respiratory illness. But, still the death rate of such patients in Hamidia has been about 20% as against 25% to 30% at the global level,” Dr Sharma said.
A health department official, who was not willing to be named, said, “Only health minister can comment on the government affairs.”
The health minister did not respond to phone calls and text messages.
However, state BJP leader Dr Hitesh Bajpai said, “Praising private facilities doesn’t mean criticising the public health system. From our Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to every citizen in the country, all have appreciated the efforts by our doctors and para medical staff for doing their best.”