Covid and Cyclone Yaas deal twin blows to Bihar’s crumbling health infrastructure

Even without the onslaught of trials sent in by the storm, Bihar already reported a daily case count that far overwhelms its health facilities

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Amidst a health crisis that has gripped the whole nation, Bihar now deals with the after-effects of the heavy rainfall and floods on account of Cyclone Yaas that inundated hospitals; most notably the renowned Darbhanga Medical College and Hospital (DMCH).

For the past week or so, social media observed a significant rise in videos showing ankle-deep level storm water entering the corridors and wards of various medical facilities. Already, previous on-ground reports spoke of the growing stress on the state’s healthcare sector due to coronavirus. However, by May 26, medical professionals also had to deal with the added trials of the storm that came in from the Bay of Bengal.

Heavy rainfall and water-logging also resulted in heavy criticism against the administration on social media, questioning the state of the hospitals where many Covid-patients still remain.

Like the DMCH hospital like Sadar hospital in Katihar region also suffered water-logging inside medical facilities due to widespread rains. Among the 1,147 public hospitals in the state, there are 583 ICU beds and 292 ventilators, said a report by the Centre for Disease and Dynamics, Economics and Policy (CDDEP). Including the private sector amenities, there are 1,543 ICU beds and 771 ventilators in the state. Yet even these are insufficient in dealing with the 16,236 active cases across Bihar, as per official data.

According to Indian Express, the state has been reporting 12,000 to 15,000 cases per day since the end of April. While this number decreased to 10,174 cases by May 10, the state had run out of vacant ICU beds.

To make matters worse, Gulf News on June 1 reported that hospitals are currently facing a severe shortage of drugs to treat deadly mucormycosis, also known as black fungus, that has added to the trials of the pandemic. The report said that AIIMS, Patna daily required 500 vials while each patient needs to be administered 5-7 vials of the drug per day for at least 10-12 days. Similarly, IGIMS Hospital demanded an immediate supply of 3,000 vials on May 26 but received only 350 vials on May 28.

Experts speaking to news media persons estimate Bihar is yet to reach its peak, although patients from rural areas have already begun travelling to city hospitals.


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