Express News Service
CHANDIGARH: A rush for vaccination in urban and rural areas is creating chaos as villagers are virtually seizing primary health centres, not allowing any non-villager to get the jabs. Adding to the crisis is the strike by private ambulance operators against government’s fixed rates, forcing patients to hire other vehicles and dead bodies being ferried in autorickshaws.
Sources said residents of urban Gurugram living in societies near villages are going for vaccination to public health centres (PHCs) which are mostly located in villages. The villagers at these PHCs drive away those residents and insist on vaccination only for villagers. An incident was reported from Dhankot and Garhi Harsaru where panchayat members allegedly seized all vaccines from health workers and did not allow people from nearby areas to receive the second dose of the vaccination.
The vaccination chaos is attributed to the district administration’s decision not to hold vaccination camps in a residential societies or offices. “There are a few residents in condominiums who want a second dose. The administration has asked RWAs to compile a list and share it with officials. The administration then must plan a day camp in each condominium,’’ says Praveen Malik, vice president and a spokesperson for the United Association of New Gurugram.
Private ambulances on strike
On the other hand is the transport problem. Some 250 private ambulances ply in the city. These are run by 30 private operators. The operators claim that the rates the government has fixed are too low. There were several reports that the private ambulances were charging exorbitantly from families of patients.
The Haryana government recently issued orders barring private ambulance drivers from charging more than Rs 15 per km for Advance Life Support (ALS) ambulances and Rs 7 per km for Basic Life Support (BLS) ambulances while travelling in or out of the state. Private ambulance operators have gone on a strike against the government order.
“Our drivers and attendants risk their lives in this time of the crisis. They wear PPE kits bought by us for them to shift patients. We cannot run our business as per government rates. The government should raise the rates,’’ said Rajesh Yadav, president of Private Ambulance Welfare Association of Gurugram. The PAWA also claimed that it provides free service of 10 ambulances in the Covid crisis. Meanwhile, Covid patients and attendants are facing a lot of porblems due to the strike. Seeing the rush for taxis and autos, even they have increased their rates.
ICU abandoned after O2 shortage, claims kin
Videos clips have surfaced on social media showing relatives of patients alleging that the staff of Kirti hospital in Sector 56 abandoned the ICU after the hospital ran out of oxygen. Six people had died in the hospital on April 30 due to oxygen shortage. Dr Swati Rathore, director of the hospital, told a TV channel that the hospital had informed the government and relatives of patients that day that they were about to run out of oxygen, so they had to shift the sick ones. But no help came, resulting in the death of six people, she claimed.