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In a strongly-worded statement, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) on Saturday criticised the role of the Union Health Ministry in the handling of Coronavirus second wave in the country. Terming the response of the ministry extremely lethargic, the IMA alleged that advisories and suggestions made by health professionals are not paid heed and the government is taking decisions without realising the ground realities. Citing instances of many experts requesting the government to impose nationwide lockdown, the IMA said that refusal of the central government to impose lockdown has led to 4 lakh daily Covid-19 cases in the country. The IMA also said that individual lockdown by different states and night curfews were ineffective in breaking the chain of Coronavirus.
On the vaccination front, the IMA said that despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement of phase 3 vaccination rollout from May 1 the Health Ministry failed to chart out a proper road map and arrange vaccine stock which has led to the suspension of vaccination drive at several vaccine centres in the country. The health professionals’ body also criticised the differential pricing system for vaccine purchase by states and private medical institutions. Citing the instance of smallpox and polio vaccination drives in the past, the IMA said that the country had been able to succeed on account of free vaccine provision for all age groups across the country.
On the oxygen shortage, IMA said that despite enough production of Oxygen in the country large numbers of private hospitals are bearing the shortage brunt due to faulty distribution management of the life-saving gas. Questioning the government data on the number of new cases and covid-19 mortalities, the IMA wondered why the government was hiding actual Covid-19 statistics. Citing an example of false RT-PCR negative tests, the IMA said that health authorities are not adding Covid-19 cases that are getting traced through CT-scan reports.
The statement signed by National President, IMA Dr. J A Jayalal concluded that there should be a complete revamp of the entire Covid-19 management by the central government ranging from containment measures, vaccine shortage, drugs shortage, and manpower shortage among others.