One among many claims of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has been that under his government Delhi became the best in healthcare. In our articles, like the one titled Delhi! How Is Your Health? , we had shown with facts and figures as to how these claims are a sham. Nevertheless, the Corona crisis has amply demonstrated how fragile the Delhi public health system is. Finally, the Centre had to step in to bring coordination among various levels of administration in order to bring the worsening situation under control.
HM Amit Shah’s Roadmap
- The Union Home Minister directed the Central Government, Delhi Government and all three Municipal Corporations of Delhi to ensure proper implementation of the measures such as house-to-house survey, Corona testing etc.
- Home Minister Amit Shah directed immediate transfer of 4 IAS officers – Awanish Kumar & Monica Priyadarshini from A&N, & Gaurav Singh Rajawat & Vikram Singh Mallik from Arunachal Pradesh- to New Delhi to assist the fight against Corona.
- The Supreme Court recently censured the Delhi government over the handling of dead bodies. Now, the Centre has directed that bodies of suspected COVID19 cases be handed over to relatives immediately without waiting for the confirmation from the lab. The last rites can be conducted following the health ministry’s guidelines.
- As per the MHA directions, AIIMS Delhi has set up a 24×7 covid19 helpline number (Eng/Hindi). Through AIIMS 9115444155, callers can take OPD appointments, talk to volunteers while doctors can talk to consultants.
- Three teams consisting four doctors each, to inspect major dedicated COVID19 facilities proposed in Delhi & make recommendations for improvement. The MCD officials will assist them.
Mismanagement by Delhi Government
While combating Corona, it is very important to conduct large-scale testing in places where positive rates are high. This should be followed with isolation and contract tracing. That is how metro cities like Bengaluru have managed the crisis in a much better way.
But in Delhi, it was distressing picture. The parts which reported higher number of positive cases were not attended with a greater number of tests. Instead, the parts like South Delhi and Central Delhi where the positive rate is comparatively low have witnessed large number of tests. This has left the people with one conclusion that those who are in rich and politically active areas got the attention and not the ‘aam aadmi’.
In the beginning of this month, Union health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan has warned saying that
“As the number of cases and fatality rises in Delhi, it needs to ramp up testing coupled with aggressive surveillance, contact tracing and stringent containment and perimeter control activities.” He also said, “the high rate of infection in the healthcare workers was also a serious issue. It indicates poor infection prevention control practices in healthcare settings and needs to be attended to on priority.”
Now, as we can see the measures announced by the Ministry of Home Affairs listed in this article, they were addressing these lacunae. While we hope that these measures bring certain relief to Delhi in containing the spread of the virus, we were also reminded of the tall claims of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal such as that the Delhi government hospitals are at per with private ones, that the Delhi healthcare system has been revamped in line with Denmark model, that the hospital bed capacity in Delhi being expanded to 120% of capacity, so on and so forth.
If these claims had a semblance of truth, people in Delhi should not have been facing the situation in which they are unable to find beds.