VIJAYAPURA: In a span of 45 days, Vijayapura district has seen 205 cases of mucormycosis (black fungus). However, most patients depend on private hospitals for surgeries owing to lack of specialists and medical equipment at the state-run hospital.
According to the district administration, of the 205 cases reported so far, 56 are active, 123 have recovered, 24 have been referred to other districts and two have died.
Among the infected, at least 170 people have been operated upon in the district. Of these, 99% of the surgeries have been performed at private hospitals with BLDE Hospital seeing the highest number of operations.
“As many as 53 patients with black fungus were admitted to the state-run hospital of which 22 were referred to BLDE Hospital for surgery... only two minor surgeries were performed at the government hospital,” said an official of the district civil hospital.
Speaking to TNIE, Dr S L Lakkannavar, Resident Medical Officer at district civil hospital, said, “The patients are being referred to private hospitals for surgeries because of lack of specialists, medical equipment and other experts to perform the surgeries. Moreover, BLDE Hospital has a medical college and many ENT specialists to perform surgeries."
Otolaryngologist Dr Latha Devi, head of the ENT Department at BLDE’s Shri B M Patil Medical College, Hospital and Research Centre, said, “In maximum cases of mucormycosis, surgery is needed. If the fungal infection is detected in the first stage, it can be treated with Amphotericin-B... but if it is in the second stage and above, where the infection would have affected the eyes and nose, surgery has to be performed to remove the dead tissue and prevent further spread of the infection."
As black fungus is not included under Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana, patients have to bear the expense if the surgery is performed in private hospitals. However, the district health authorities are providing Amphotericin-B for free to even those patients who have been referred to private hospitals.
Admitting to poor health infrastructure at the state-run hospital as one of the main factors for patients being referred to private hospitals, Deputy Commissioner P Sunil Kumar, told TNIE, "Higher authorities have informed that talks are on to procure necessary medical equipment to perform surgeries at the civil hospital."