Shortage of Masks & Gloves for Health Workers, CM Takes DC and DHO to Task

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Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai Takes Deputy Commissioner Dr K V Rajendra and District Health Officer Dr Kishore Kumar to Task for Shortage of Masks & Gloves for Health Workers at Covid Situation Meet held at Nethravati Auditorium in Zilla Panchayat Office, Mangaluru on Thursday, 12 August

Mangaluru: Following the inauguration of the new ICU Block at District Wenlock Hospital, and also the inauguration of Dr B R Ambedkar Bhavana in Urwa Store, Mangaluru, Chief Minister (CM) Basavaraj Bommai held a review meeting regarding the controlling of the pandemic at Zilla panchayat office on Thursday, August 12, and directed officials to scientifically separate Covid patients who are in home isolation and shift them to Covid care centres.

The CM took the DK Deputy Commissioner Dr K V Rajendra and District Health Officer (DHO), Dr Kishore Kumar, to task over the scarcity of gloves and masks for health workers. When the former minister and MLA U T Khader said that the district lacks N95 masks for health workers, Health Minister Dr Sudhakar in reply to U T Khader said that there is no such situation. In Dakshina Kannada and Udupi we have 9700 N95 and 10,000 PPE kits and asked the DHO to clarify. DHO Dr Kishore said that in DK there are enough PPE Kits but there is a shortage of N95 masks and gloves. We have already brought this to the notice of the concerned authorities through a Video conference and they have assured us of providing the same.

Bommai questioned the DC about his administration and said that when there are enough funds provided through SDRF why masks and gloves are not provided to health workers. He also asked the DHO why he had not brought the issue of lack of masks and gloves to the notice of the DC. The CM did not heed any explanation and urged the DC and the DHO to take immediate steps to provide masks and gloves to the health workers. He also said that the DHO is totally unaware of the requirements and ordered a complete report by evening.

The Chief Minister, being upset with the DHO’s response, said, “Is this the time to hear about the shortage of N95 masks and gloves in DK? This is a silly issue that should not be discussed in this meeting? How many years of experience do you have in Medical Field?” CM Bommai also took the Deputy commissioner to task and said, “Is this the way you operate? Without Gloves and Masks, how can you expect the health workers to perform their duty? Don’t you provide the necessary facilities to health workers?

DC responded to the CM and said, “We have reserved the funds of Rs 50 lakhs to buy the necessary items for health workers and each taluk has been given Rs 50,000.” CM was not happy with the DC’s reply and said, “I don’t need any clarifications, Masks are essential, buy the Masks and Gloves through SDRF funds right away and by evening I need a report. Buy everything locally and submit the report to me, don’t wait to buy anything from Bengaluru”. Beltangady MLA Harish Poonja welcomed the dignitaries in the Tulu language and also urged the chief minister to include Tulu in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution. During his speech, Poonja misspelt the eighth schedule to the 18th schedule of the Indian Constitution.

Speaking during the meeting Bommai said, “With the spike in Covid-19 cases in Dakshina Kannada we have to take the matter seriously and try to contain the pandemic/Covid-19. The District Administration controlled the second wave very effectively, therefore we need to be ready with the same now when we are expecting a third wave, in case. Effective immediately we have to control the positivity rate in the district since 80% of affected people are in home isolation which is not a good sign in this situation, and therefore we need to shift them to Covid care centres immediately”.

CM further said, “I advise the concerned officials to conduct tests twice for those who are in home isolation and if the problems arise doctors should take charge whether they have to be shifted to Covid care centres or hospitals. The district administration should ensure more facilities at the Covid care centres and convince them to get themselves admitted. The patients who are in home isolation should make their house including four surrounding houses as a micro containment zone and guide them. The main intention of the meeting today here is to find a solution to the problems. We have more challenges in the district as we have eight medical colleges. Economic activities take place here. We share borders with Kerala, so we cannot trouble non-positive people by imposing a lockdown”.

MLC Bhoje Gowda said, “Micro containment zones during the first wave was a good method because even the neighbours will be alert and aware by taking some measures. Even if any positive patients roam unnecessarily, they will inform the concerned officials which will help them to take action.” Bommai advised that more health officials and police should be deployed on the borders in three shifts. “Earlier, the daily visitors from Kerala to Mangaluru had to possess an RT-PCR test negative report for every 14 days which is now reduced to 7 days,” he said.

Also raising his point, MLA Dr Bharath Y Shetty said, “Even the people working at the workplace of positively tested patients should be considered as primary contacts. If we shape up the system, then we can handle the situation well, including intensifying tests at the borders.” Deputy Commissioner (DC) Dr K V Rajendra said, “We have 16 oxygen plants in which 9 are working and 7 have been commissioned which will start functioning probably from August 20.” In reply, CM Bommai said, “We have increased the oxygen manufacturing units and also we have enough logistics support. We have found new sources of oxygen suppliers. I can assure you that there will be no oxygen crisis in the coming days. I have been urged to set up a paediatric ICU in every hospital. No children should be left unchecked as their health is very important. Paediatric beds should be arranged whenever required”.

Regarding the issue of vaccination shortage and other related problems, Bommai said, “We will take measures to provide vaccines for the border taluks on a priority basis. Even Mangaluru city will be covered. Vaccines will be provided in 3-4 instalments. The district administration is doing a tremendous job in tackling the pandemic. I hope this meeting will bring a positive outcome in controlling the pandemic so that the district will be a model in the country. Meanwhile, public cooperation is very important,” he said.

CM Bommai was joined by Ministers S Angara, Kota Srinivas Poojary, K Sudhakar, MP Nalin Kumar Kateel, MLAs U T Khader, Rajesh Naik, Vedavyasa Kamath, Umanath Kotian, Dr Bharath Shetty, Harish Poonja, Sanjeev Matandoor, D K Deputy Commissioner Dr K V Rajendra, Mangaluru City Police Commissioner N Shashi Kumar, Zilla Panchayat CEO Dr Kumar, SP Sonawane Rishikesh Bhagwan, Mangaluru City Corporation Commissioner Akshay Sridhar, MCC Mayor Premananda Shetty, Deputy Mayor Sumangala Rao, Deputy Director of District Social Welfare Department, officers of various department and people representatives were among others present.

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