Hoarding, Supply, and Pandemonium
On the 1st of May, India officially recorded more than 4 lakh new COVID-19 cases, which brought the country among the worst hit nations in terms of daily infections. Fatalities have jumped to new numbers and lockdowns have become a necessity. This second wave of COVID-19, as termed by medical professionals, has been spreading aggressively all over the nation. However, the exacerbating condition of patients isn’t the only hurdle that is coming forth. The dearth of medical grade oxygen, hoarding of oxygen cylinders, and crucial drugs along with supplies, which by and large involve antiviral medications such as Fabipiravir, Remdivisir, etc is a lurking trouble.
Oxygen production in India
As per the statement from the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, the oxygen production capacity in the county is about 7,127 metric ton, but the recent pandemic and havoc created by the unavailability of medical grade oxygen in the capital and other states, has brought the claims of the government to question. As per the statistical report of the Ministry of Commerce, India exported over 9,000 MT of oxygen between April 2020 and January 2021, which in the opinion of people was one of the causes for the shortage of life-saving gas. However, the government has refuted these arguments by pointing out that between April 2020 and February 2021, 9,884 MT of industrial-grade oxygen was exported and 12 MT of medical-grade oxygen was exported which is being used in hospitals to treat patients. So, what could have caused this medical mismanagement? The transportation mismanagement or the inadequate organization of the healthcare system? The question remains unanswered. The international aid provided by fellow nations in times of distress marks the collective responsibility of nations towards one another. Every help counts in these horrific times where people of the country are facing the wrath of another humongous wave due to continuous mutation in the structure of the virus and the new restrengthened strain.
Hoarding of Essential Supplies
Another crucial matter in front of the authorities is to deal with essential supply hoarders who have accumulated large quantities of oxygen and medicines for their personal interests. The incidents of a clampdown on hoarders have been reported from different corners of the country which is the need of the hour considering the seriousness of this second wave of COVID-19 which is affecting a record number of people in the country. Not only are the people succumbing due to the greed of the hoarders but also because of the exorbitant prices at which these supplies are being sold. Ambulance services are charging high prices, oxygen cylinders are sold at tens of thousands of rupees, and that’s only a few of the incidents, incidents that would not go well in the archives of the history of our country.
Medicines and Confusion
Fake vials of Remdivisir, the antiviral being used to treat the virus, have gained demand sharply and are being sold and people are being duped. There have been numerous cases where authorities seized large numbers of fake medicines from suppliers. These kinds of malicious practices in times like these are adding to the misery of people who are trying to protect their loved ones whether at home or in hospitals. It’s a shame to see how some people have turned this catastrophe into a business venture to satiate their monetary lust. Not only medicines, mobile numbers, and addresses circulating over social media platforms have been reported for duping people for providing fake leads to helpless people. People paid large sums to acquire the supplies and were cheated. No doubt that social media has been a ‘sanjeevani’ for people looking for supplies but the latent agendas have caused pandemonium among people. Authorities’ watchdogs are strict in response to suppress these fake maneuvers and have largely been successful. Many social media platforms also circulated the images of medicines comparing fakes with the originals. It’s been advised that people look for some minute but crucial details on the packaging of medicines so that they can determine their authenticity. Certain details are to be taken care of such as (Rx) would be mentioned on the box of vials of scheduled-H drug or the drugs which are not dispensed without any prescription. Capitalization and alignment of text are equally important, any subscript’s font should not be less than one-third of its heading. While looking at the composition of the medicine one should come across the term ‘IP’ which stands for Indian pharmacopeia, it lays down guidelines for the various formulations of medicines and doses of the medicines.
Times are grim and many families have lost their loved ones to Corona virus-related complications and the only thing that can help India resurface from the current scenario is the timely availability of essential facilities and supplies to the patients across the country and the best way to make all this possible is in the hands of administration and authorities who are looking over the preparations to gear up India to emerge victorious in this battle with a hidden enemy that lurks amongst us. As important as it is to control the present surge of rising infections, India along with other countries must also strategize its efforts well to confront the future ripples of the mutating virus until the country reaches herd immunity which would largely be possible by an aggressive vaccination drive among the population and making sure adequate precautions are taken. It’s not time to take things casually, it never was!
Author Abhinav is a student of Politics and Economics. He is Editor with The Policy Observer.
(The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author/s. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of The Policy Observer or our members.)
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