Another nightmare staring at us
IFP EDITORIAL: While the state may be able to cure a Covid-19 positive person, Manipur is still not equipped to deal with post-Covid complications.
While we are still struggling hard to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic for lack of adequate health infrastructure and qualified manpower, another nightmare has come to haunt us in the form of post-Covid complications. Even though we are yet to have a Covid hospital till date, the state health department is doing everything to combat the pandemic with whatever resources it has while also complementing the effort with temporary arrangements, including Covid care centres. We cannot but appreciate the efforts of the department, in spite of certain misgivings and cases of mismanagement which could be overlooked.
Chief Minister N Biren Singh has retained the health portfolio in the recent reshuffle and has appointed a health professional and MLA Dr Sapam Ranjan Singh as Health Advisor to the CM to advise him. Dr Ranjan is now directly overseeing the Covid 19 operations and one can certainly feel a perceptible change in the response to the pandemic. We understand that framing a Covid 19 policy or an adequate response is not an easy task in view of the inadequacies. So, it has to be an ever-evolving process as the pandemic has yet to fully show its hand or contours. Scientific studies are still going on and information on the character of the pandemic is coming in bits only, while a fully effective vaccine is not in sight even though the United Kingdom has begun giving out a vaccine which could be effective to some extent. Meanwhile, we have to contend with the standard slogans of safety measures of using masks, regular hand-washing and maintaining social distance.
Now, deaths due to either co-morbidity or post-Covid complications have already begun to make its presence felt in the over-stressed health infrastructure of the state. Several people including a former minister who tested negative after hospitalisation died due to post Covid complications. The writing is on the wall. While we may be able to cure a Covid-19 positive person, the state is still not equipped to deal with post-Covid complications. We know, the state health department is trying to differentiate Covid-19 deaths by classifying the cause as pure Covid deaths and of co-morbidity issues. This is an attempt to side-track the issue, as by now most of us understand what the Covid-19 does to the insides of the human body once it enters it and even if an able-bodied person recovers from the virus and tests negative, long-term effects are always there while it deteriorates the health condition of persons particularly elderly persons with serious ailments. Doctors have confessed that they know how to treat acute Covid patients, but post-Covid treatment is a new area.
So, more people are going to die even after testing negative and the time has come for the state to start considering on how to deal with post-Covid health issues. It seems only a few high-end private hospitals are equipped to deal with post-Covid complications in the whole country now, where only the wealthy and powerful can go for treatment. We are talking of the poor and middle-class people, who do not have the resources to go for treatment to such high-end hospitals with exorbitant fees for treatment. Hospitals have now started discussions on the need to strategise exclusive out-patient services to tackle the post-Covid load. Doctors said patients who are developing post-Covid complications were those who were critically ill, as well as those with mild symptoms.