AMARAVATI: With resources stretched thin and hospitals overburdened in the virus surge, experts have pointed out that urban health centres (UHCs) have failed to play a proactive role in supporting Covid care centres and district hospitals. And strengthening of UHCs is an urgent need to tackle the rising number of Covid-19 cases.
The failure of the district administrations to make use of UHCs as first point of screening for Covid-19 suspects has only increased the burden on district and general hospitals. Although the district collectors have designated one or two UHCs as Covid-19 screening centres, the tests are not being conducted regularly due to the absence of doctors. Added to this a majority of these centres are being manned by retired medical professionals, who themselves are in the vulnerable category.
“The district collectors should have deployed young doctors and PGs on rotation basis at UHCs to continuously screen suspects. We have failed to utilise the services of the UHCs to the fullest extent,” said YSRC legislator K Rosaiah.
According to official sources, each UHC is unable to handle more than 100 patients per day coming with different health complaints in the last 20 days while there is jostling at Government General Hospitals (GGHs); even doctors at the rural Primary Health Centres (PHCs) are referring almost all the cases to the GGH for fear of contracting Covid-19, resulting in the GGHs being overburdened.
At the GGHs, authorities are unable to extend all the services due to several factors, including a dearth of doctors. This is because while 10%-15% senior doctors above the age of 55 have been exempted from emergency duties, about five to 10 doctors have either already contracted Covid-19 or have self-quarantined themselves after they were identified as primary contacts.
The authorities have divided the remaining resources into two groups and deputed one group to Covid-19 duties and remaining on non-Covid duties. “Screening for Covid-19 has become a mandatory before providing treatment to patients in the OP wing. It is taking a toll on both the commoners as well as professionals,” said a senior professor at Guntur Medical College.