“The entire hospital has turned into an ICU,” Eatala Rajender said.

Telangana Heath Minister Eatala Rajender
Coronavirus Coronavirus Thursday, April 22, 2021 - 18:31

Telangana Health Minister Eatala Rajender on Thursday urged private hospitals to treat critically ill COVID-19 patients and not send them to Gandhi Hospital. As of 2 pm on Thursday, according to the government’s hospital beds dashboard, all 616 ventilator beds at Gandhi Hospital were fully occupied. “Today Gandhi has 1,100 beds — all ICU, oxygen or ventilator beds. Today there are above 600 patients in ICU on a ventilator, for the first time in history such a big percentage are on ventilator. The entire hospital has turned into an ICU,” the Health Minister said.

“Private hospitals are treating, but once a patient gets serious or faces breathing issues, they’re sending them to Gandhi Hospital. With this, there’s a danger of patients dying on the way, as transport is risky when they need oxygen. Try to keep oxygen and ventilators with you and treat (patients). Don’t send them to Gandhi Hospital at a final critical state,” said Eatala, adding, “Some other private hospitals are asking patients to get Remdesivir and oxygen on their own. We are trying to supply them in sufficient quantities. People are trying to make money off of dying people. This is unacceptable. Such people won’t be spared,” he added.

The Health Minister also asked private hospitals not to ask patients to go to Gandhi Hospital when they were unable to pay bills. He also urged the public to approach hospitals sooner and not wait till the health of the patient deteriorates to dangerous levels. “Earlier, we were getting 10-12 days for treatment, but now we are not getting more than 4-5 days. If you wait for these 4-5 days and come to the hospital when it is critical and when you need a ventilator, one issue is you may not get a ventilator. Even when you get a ventilator, the health situation gets dangerous,” said Eatala.

The Minister also demanded that the Union government allocate Remidesvir and supply oxygen fairly, taking the need of the state into account. Addressing the media, he said that close to 70% of COVID-19 patients being treated in Hyderabad are from neighbouring states.

Telangana is seeing an influx of COVID-19 positive patients from Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka as the situation is severe in these states, Eatala said. “Patients from these states are also likely to come here for treatment. The Chief Minister had said to make preparations to accommodate them too. We ordered 4 lakh Remdesivir vials for this purpose,” he added.

Eatala said that Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao had instructed the Health Department to place orders for Remdesivir injections, “To avoid a shortfall of Remdesivir injections, we instantly placed an order for 2 lakh vials,” said the Health Minister. The state government has approached Hetro Drugs, Reddy labs and other pharma companies manufacturing the Remdesivir drug to scale up production. However, Eatala expressed concerns over allocation of the drug to the state

“Yesterday (Wednesday), we heard shocking news, that like vaccines and oxygen, Remdesivir supply also will be controlled by the Union government,” said Eatala. Pointing out that from April 21 to 30, Telangana had been allocated just 21,551 vials of Remdesivir, he said, “This is upsetting.”

Eatala said that concerns have been raised with the Union Minister for Health Harsh Vardhan. The Minister said it was pointed out to Vardhan that the Union government has only considered patients in Telangana alone while allocating Remdesivir. “But in Hyderabad’s hospitals, 60-70% of patients are from other states,” pointed out Eatala, adding, “So far, (there has been) no clear response from the Union government. We are asking the Centre that Remdesivir manufactured in our state should be fully allocated within the state to fulfil the needs of our people,” he added.

When it comes to oxygen, Telangana is presently using 260 to 270 metric tons per day, informed the Health Minister. “We are getting Oxygen from Bellary, Vizag etc. Our allocation is very little. Around 20 metric tons is from Bellary, and most of it is allocated from faraway places in Odisha,” he added.

The Union government has allocated oxygen for the state from neighbouring Tamil Nadu. However, Eatala said “Tamil Nadu has said they will not send oxygen that the Union government has allocated. We asked Harsh Vardhan to allocate oxygen from closer places like Bellary (Karnataka), Vizag (Andhra Pradesh), Sriperumbudur (Tamil Nadu) etc. If this issue is not resolved, the Centre will have to bear responsibility if there is an oxygen shortage in the future.”

Eatala alleged that unlike Telangana, BJP ruled states like Gujarat had been given more than a lakh vials of Remdesivir. “Like Tamil Nadu says it’s their oxygen and they won’t share, we can also say Remdesivir is made here and so it’s ours. We won’t do that but allocation needs to be fair,” he said.

How much ever the drug production is ramped up by the pharma companies within the state, the allocations are done by the Union government, Eatala said, requesting the latter to listen and respond to the needs of states.

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