While people suffer shortages, Karnataka government insists all is well | Bengaluru News – Times of India


A sign outside a hospital in Bengaluru. The state government insists there are plenty of beds available

BENGALURU: Roshini (name changed to protect privacy), a Covid-19 patient, was admitted to Bangalore Institute of Gastroenterology last week where doctors said she urgently needed a jab of Itolizumab 100mg or Tocilizumab 400mg.
The family is still running from VVIP to pharmacy – in vain – to get the drugs, even as her condition worsens.
“The hospital ran out of stock last week and no supply is forthcoming,” her brother said. “An SOS to several influential people including the offices of health minister K Sudhakar and deputy chief minister CN Ashwath Narayan failed to evoke any response. Bengaluru South MP Tejasvi Surya replied saying he will try.”
Roshini’s case is just one example of the difficulties faced by family members of thousands of Covid patients and medical professionals across the state. The shortage of medicines, injections, and oxygen is acute.
Sources say the scenario in state-run hospitals is just as bad. In Kolar and Periyapatna (Mysuru), seven people have died in the past two days in local government hospitals due to lack of medical oxygen.
But the state government continues to play down the crisis, claiming “all is well”. It insists there are enough hospital beds available and that the supply of oxygen and medicines is adequate.
On Saturday, Sudhakar claimed the Union government had increased the state’s allocation of Remdesivir to 1.2 lakh vials from 50,000 till April 30. Besides, the daily allocation of oxygen was also increased to 800 tonnes (MT) from the existing 300MT. In a tweet, chief minister BS Yediyurappa corroborated the claim and said the increased allocation will strengthen the state’s fight against the pandemic.
However, people on ground continue to suffer from a lack of beds, oxygen, drugs and ambulances, besides space in burial grounds and lengthy queues at crematoriums.
Many find the attitude of the government to the plight of people baffling. Frantic posts on social media platforms reveal the scale of the crisis as people plead for beds, oxygen, drugs, plasma, CT scans, oxygen, and even food for the elderly in home quarantine. However, the government appears clueless.
Complaints of patients being fleeced abound, while some private hospitals are also charging exorbitant fees for tests. In the past one week, there have been at least a dozen cases of cheating and fraud.
In two separate cases, police arrested black marketers who were selling Remdesivir for Rs 12,000 a vial. The government-mandated price is Rs 800 per vial or Rs 690 if acquired directly from the laboratory. “The situation is really scary, and the government appears clueless. Hopefully, it will ease after the lockdown,” said a worried BJP MLA.

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Sagar Biswas

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