We still say, there seems to be something seriously wrong in the health bureaucracy at the top as we continue to battle the pandemic in the second wave with no let-up in either the daily number of positive figures and deaths. The latest figure of positive numbers on Friday is 852 while the number of deaths due to Covid-19 is 10. The number of daily Covid figures keeps fluctuating, but the percentage as against the number of tested is always around 15 percent or so. The Central government had to send its team of experts recently to assess the situation in the state. Somehow the Centre must have sensed a lack of purpose and direction in the strategy adopted by the state.
Well, as the state changed tack in the vaccination drive, it has picked up and the daily number of vaccination has quadrupled from around 5000 to 20,000 plus in the past few days, even going up to 30,000 plus. We had earlier asked, have we exhausted all our imagination and efforts in trying to convince the public to come out willingly or voluntarily to take the Covid-19 vaccine? Yes, we agree rumours are going around and some people are using social media to post their hesitancy and reluctance which might be due to either sheer ignorance or the deaths after vaccination and the adverse effects. We would like to reiterate once again that the matter cannot be resolved by arresting them or putting them in jail and for that matter putting undue pressure on media freedom.
Somehow, we have to learn to respect the misgivings or concerns of certain people amongst us, while trying our utmost to convince them that full vaccination is the safest mode of protection against the ravages of Covid-19 as it enters the body.
The state has now given the responsibility of ensuring vaccination of all eligible persons to the MLAs in their respective constituencies and peoples’ representatives of all hues down to the grassroots level are getting involved in encouraging people to get themselves vaccinated. The chief minister has announced a cash award of Rs 20 lakhs for the first assembly constituency to be fully vaccinated.
Such encouragement is also needed. Not only that, the state machinery is engaging with religious leaders of all faiths to come join in clearing up the misgivings and preach vaccination. One has to understand that a full-scale vaccination effort is more prudent if we have to fight back the pandemic, as well as preparing for the possible third wave. The Centre has taken care of procuring the vaccines and people are getting it free with the state rolling out its full machinery and health infrastructure to avail vaccine services in every constituency. This opportunity should not be missed. This new direction in the vaccination drive and officers responsible for the idea needs to be appreciated also.
It is also a matter of shame that, Centre has had to send a team to oversee the measures being taken up by the state to fight the pandemic with all the good doctors and health infrastructure that we have in the state. Manipur has a good reputation regarding its doctors and the existence of two health institutions with another medical institute coming along. The question is, is the state leadership putting the good doctors and the institutes to good use. Numbers do not lie, and even with tight restrictions the numbers of positives and deaths keeps piling up every day. That is exactly why we have been consistently saying that something is not right. Perhaps, it has to do with the spent forces manning the health bureaucracy at the top. Instead of infusing fresh blood in the health bureaucracy, the state keeps extending the services of a few health administrators and they are going to take down the state along with them, unless corrective measures are put in place. On the other hand, the state’s recent move to flush out the hidden Covid-19 population by carrying out door to door testing besides the scaled up vaccination drive is a good move. While vaccination is voluntary, testing could be mandatory.
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