Ensure protection of human rights in the fight against COVID-19: MHRC to Manipur government

The Manipur Human Rights Commission (MHRC) has issued recommendations to the state government as per the Protection of Human Rights Act 1993, in view of the Covid pandemic situation in the state


The Manipur Human Rights Commission (MHRC) as per the Protection of Human Rights Act 1993, issued recommendations to the state government to ensure protection of human rights during the present situation of second wave of COVID-19 in the state.

The MHRC also asked the government not to allow any individual or groups to distribute oxygen cylinder or concentrator to Covid patients without consulting a registered medical practitioner.

The commission has been regularly receiving various complaints regarding issues in access to healthcare facilities, irregularities in distribution of food grain under National Food Security Act, forceful keeping of drug users at de-addiction centres without COVID-19 testing and others, said MHRC.

As such, all the relevant government departments, private sector agencies, non-governmental organisations and individuals are informed to comply with the recommendations circulated by the National Human Rights Commission in enforcing and ensuring human rights particularly on ‘right to health’ and ‘right to food’ during the second wave COVID-19 pandemic, it added.

It stated that on arrangements for oxygen, essential medicines and devices, the Centre and the state government must coordinate for providing continuous, rapid and seamless logistics to meet the demand. Additionally, a single point of contact may be established for the same, especially for oxygen. Any COVID-19 patient who approaches any public health facility should receive the treatment free of cost. In case, the care appropriate to the severity of the condition is not available, it would be the obligation of the health department to organise his or her transport to another hospital where appropriate care is available.

In case of COVID patient approaching a private hospital where there is no vacant bed for admission,
then the hospital must contact the government nodal officer for providing necessary help and support. Till the time proper arrangement is made, the private hospital may be directed by the nodal officer to provide available emergency healthcare support to the patient. Both help-desks and the COVID dashboards are essential tools to implement this approach. Functional and effective help desks should be set up in all public and private hospitals for preliminary check-up of all incoming patients to assess their need. If the patient is in need of urgent hospitalisation and bed is not available, then the patient should be handheld to reach a clinical establishment where the needed resources are available. In no case the patient and his family members should be left to cater on their own, stated MHRC.

It stated that the state government should ensure that no individual or groups should allow the distribution of oxygen cylinder or concentrator to the patient without consulting a registered medical practitioner. This is to ensure that patients are provided quality health care service.  The individuals or groups who have purchased the oxygen cylinder or concentrator and not yet distributed to the patents are advised to donate their oxygen cylinder or concentrator to the state government. The government may check the quality of the oxygen cylinders or concentrators and same may be used for the patients who are in need.

The patients who have received oxygen cylinder or concentrator from any individual or groups and who are already discharged from the ailment are advised to hand over the same to the government. Arrangement and availability of COVID-19 vaccination should be made in appropriate places/Leikais/local bodies in consultation with the concerned local clubs in order to facilitate old and physically challenged persons and to prevent crowding in hospitals, primary health centres, etc.

Further, all the deputy commissioners in consultation with the Social Welfare department
are required to ensure availability of necessary food grains or commodities at the child care institutions, stated MHRC.

Reiterating its earlier recommendation issued to the director of Education (S) for taking necessary action to deliver food grains to the students who are beneficiaries under Midday Meal Scheme, MHRC stated that distribution of ration under National Food Security Act should also be ensured without any further delay.

It further stated all the de-addiction centres are advised to immediately halt the lodging of drug users without obtaining free, prior and informed consent from the drug users or their parents. In case, lodging of them is highly necessary at the de-addiction centres, the same should be done only after drug users are tested COVID-19 negative.

The MHRC further directed the DGP to inform the SPs to implement the recommendation to the de-addiction centres.

First Published:May 21, 2021, 10:06 p.m.

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