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COVID-19: Dimapur medical infra crumbling under weight of thousands of returnees


Dimapur, June 12: Dimapur civil and medical infrastructures appear to be crumbling under the weight of managing thousands of returnees to the State. The situation is made worse by the insensitiveness of the State Government in understanding the ground reality prevailing in Dimapur and instituting the normal bureaucratic procedure at a time when immediate decisions by frontline workers are necessary.
These issues were discussed in a meeting between the Empowered Group Dimapur District for COVID-19 and civil societies of Dimapur on Friday at Hotel Saramati. The meeting had in depth deliberation on the issues pertaining to management of COVID-19 and returnees from other states in Dimapur and later adopted a 7-point resolution.
A press release issued after the meeting said from the very beginning, the Government of Nagaland knew that about 50% of the returnees are Dimapur based and with Peren and Mon it is around 75% of the total returnees which were retained at Dimapur. The Government was also aware that positive case might be detected after the arrival of the returnees, particularly from the ‘Red Zone’.
Keeping this huge responsibility of Dimapur in mind, the civil societies have been, in these difficult days, extended full support and cooperation and have not raised any complaints to the Government regarding preparedness and facilities that should be provided to Dimapur. However, it appears that the silence of the civil societies and its support has been taken for granted, said the release.
‘Lack of medical facilities’
The meeting was of the view that owing to the fact that most of the returnees are Dimapur based, the Government should have given priority in providing resources to Dimapur district including the distribution of Trunat machines, BSL 3 labs, etc. “Among the arrival of special trains ferrying stranded passengers, while we are still struggling with the testing of Chennai returnees, Covid-19 positive cases are now detected even from Haryana returnees. Testing of returnees from Goa, Rajasthan, Bangalore etc., and huge returnees from normal rail, road and flight are yet to be initiated. Testing of all returnees at this rate shall take months together,” it observed.
The meeting was informed that as of today, more than 700 persons have overstayed the mandatory 14 days of institutional quarantine ranging from 14 -27 days without swab samples being collected for testing. “Returnees in paid quarantine centres are refusing to pay bills for their stay beyond the mandatory 14 days. There is growing unrest among the returnees and parents where our frontline workers especially the medical teams are threatened. If this is not addressed urgently, agitation and law and order situation are likely. If the returnees who have completed 14 days mandatory quarantine are not released for home quarantine, our frontline personnel besides accommodation & logistic arrangements are soon going to be overwhelmed,” it was informed.
The meeting also observed with pain the Government directive that the list of all persons found negative should be compiled and submitted to Deputy Commissioner who will then submit to Chief Secretary for approval of releasing them is distressing.
“The ground reality is that Dimapur has nearly 70 quarantine centres including paid hotels and how does the Government expect the medical team to collect all such information throughout the length and breadth of Dimapur district and submit to the DC Dimapur and to further wait for approval from Kohima? It appears that higher authorities have failed to appreciate the working situation of the frontline workers by instituting the normal bureaucratic procedure at a time when immediate decisions by frontline workers are necessary. Incidents where civil societies are raising their voices are promptly attended to by the Government but CSOs of Dimapur has been keeping quiet despite the huge responsibility delegated upon us and the cooperation extended should not be treated as weakness,” it said.
The meeting noted that as per SoP all positive and asymptomatic patients are to be sent to the districts of Peren and Mon. “However, the conscience of Team Dimapur does not allow to send those patients to their own districts knowing the practical difficulties that might be faced by Peren and Mon, although it may be against the SoP. But now with the COVID-19 Hospital on full occupancy, there is no alternative but to send some patients to their respective districts. Government should make it very clear whether the SoP should be followed strictly in letter and spirit and if so, whether the two districts are ready to receive their patients.”
Appreciating the tireless efforts of frontline workers and organizations, the Empowered Group Dimapur, administration, police, medical team, etc, the civil societies of Dimapur in the meeting insisted that the extra effort put in by the medical team in screening almost all the returnees is contributing to the rising number of recovery cases reflecting their efficiency. “Therefore, to boost their morale and to encourage them, whatever medical facilities are required by Dimapur should be provided by the Government on top priority,” they said.
As regards to the June 3 incident where a Covid 19 positive patient was inadvertently sent to Peren, the meeting was of the view that as the concerned authority has sought apology since it was not intentional and the mistake occurred owing to similarity of names of the returnees in the same isolation hotel, it appealed to all concerned that the matter be ended as “Nagas have the customary practice of ending any issue when forgiveness is sought.”
Informing that as of today, there are about 3300 returnees lodged at various quarantine centres waiting for testing, excluding the returnees of remaining 10 districts who are in transit quarantine centre, the meeting resolved that the Government should provide at least 50% of the Truenat machines procured and deploy sufficient medical personnel to Dimapur to facilitate and expedite testing for timely release of returnees and to accommodate fresh returnees.
If Government is unable to provide the required testing facilities within a few days, it wanted that the Government should follow the guidelines prescribed by ICMR for quarantine – 14 days institutional quarantine to be followed by 14 days home quarantine. “Those non-tested persons who have completed 14 days and above without displaying any symptoms and desirous to go for home quarantine should be allowed to do so, on the condition that they will be tested at a later stage,” it said. Further, the meeting resolved that the BSL 2 lab at CIHSR facility should be made operational as soon as possible and the BSL 3 lab facility at Kohima should give priority for testing of samples from Dimapur given the fact that about 50% of returnees are Dimapur based.
It also resolved that those returnees presently on paid quarantine beyond the mandatory 14 days quarantine period should be suitably compensated by Government.
“If Government takes right & early decision, we will continue to bear the burden of any other district who are in need of support. Presently, Government is overwhelming Team Dimapur and taxing the frontline workers with supplementary protocols beyond ICMR guidelines to follow. Hence, all such supplementary guidelines be done away with and the frontline workers should be empowered to release/dispatch the returnees if they are found to be Covid-19 negative or completed the mandatory 14 days quarantine without any symptoms,” said another resolution.
Observing that since the maximum positive cases are from Peren and Mon districts, the meeting felt that shifting of all Covid-19 positive asymptomatic persons to their respective districts may not be practicable for the State Government. Hence, to accommodate such cases, it wanted that one more Covid-19 Hospital, preferably CISHR, be declared as a Covid-19 Hospital to augment the shortage of medical facility in the fight against the pandemic.
On the issue of the inadvertent dispatch of a Covid-19 positive case to Peren district, which has been admitted and duly clarified & apologized by concerned authority, the meeting appealed to the NGOs of Peren district to be considerate to Team Dimapur who is tirelessly working round the clock to facilitate the returnees to their homes and that the issue be put to rest once and for all. Further, it appealed to the Government of Nagaland not to take any disciplinary action against any frontline workers as it was an “unintentional mistake and done with no mala fide intention”.
Appreciating the tireless efforts undertaken by the frontline workers of Team Dimapu, the CSOs of Dimapur district urged the State government to address the above resolutions without further delay.
The CSOs who attended today’s meeting are Dr. Kakheto Zhimomi, President, Western Sumi Hoho; Thsapougkyu, General Secretary, Naga Council Dimapur; Khehovi V Chophy, President, Dimapur District G.B Association; N Meren Imchen, Vice President, Dimapur Urban Council Chairman Federation; W Kholie Kapfo, Vice President, G.B Union Dimapur; Sungsabini Jamio, President, Naga Women Hoho, Dimapur; Khekuto Wilson, President, Dimapur District Village Council Association; Rangau, Joint Secretary, G.B Union Dimapur; Sedevilie Angami, President, Dimapur Naga Students Union; Bendangnuken, President, Dimapur Eastern Naga Students Union; Rev. Moses Merry, President, Christian Forum Dimapur and Rev. Vitoshe Swu, President, Baptist Pastor Association.(Page News Service)