COVID: Healthcare out of reach at Nuapada's Odisha

46 people succumbed to the disease in the migration-prone district which has only 1 Covid hospital

Published: 19th May 2021 08:47 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th May 2021 08:47 AM   |  A+A-

coronavirus, PPE, COVID 19

For representative purposes only (File photo| PTI)

Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR / NUAPADA: With the second wave of Covid-19 wreaking havoc in west Odisha region, the situation has turned grim in migration-prone Nuapada which is among the poorest districts in the country.  The state of affairs can be gauged from the fact that the lone Covid hospital in the district is actually a hostel for tribal students. ANWESA hostel at Silda, five km from the district headquarters town of Nuapada, has been converted into a Covid hospital with 160 beds. The facility has just five ICU beds equipped with ventilators. Critical patients are shifted to Bargarh, Balangir or Bhubaneswar even as a majority cannot afford to travel out of the district owing to poverty. 

 Absence of adequate medical facilities reflects on the large number of deaths due to Covid-19 in the district. Officially, 46 people have died in the district due to the virus. But a large number of people who die in villages are not accounted for as they are not tested. The district has so far reported 20,582 cases of which 18,801 have recovered. The district which reported 502 cases on May 17 now has 2,005 active cases.  Chief District Medical Officer (CDMO) Kaliprasad Behera said around 1,400 tests are conducted daily in the district which includes 300 RT-PCR and 1,100 rapid antigen tests.

Samples for RT-PCR are sent to Balangir. The tests are being conducted at 12 centres including five CHCs and two district headquarters hospital. The CDMO admitted that more tests are required to be conducted in villages and to achieve the objective, the administration has pressed into service a vaccination van which also doubles up as a mobile testing centre. He said  vaccination is now limited to urban centres of the district and will be started in rural areas when adequate  doses are available.

 The reason for spread of the virus in villages across the district remains unknown. In the initial period of the second wave, border check posts were erected. The district has one check point on National Highway and another at Sinapali, both are guarded. But there are several other crossing points to Chhattisgarh through villages which remain out of the administration’s reach. Sources said during random testing conducted at Powertola village, 28 of 50 people had tested positive. But such testing is infrequent because of which the seriousness of the situation remains unfathomable. 

Many families in Nuapada have their relatives staying in Chhattisgarh and cannot be prevented from crossing over to the neighbouring State, Congress MLA from Khariar Adhiraj Panigrahi said. He said though less in number, migrants have started arriving. Every village in the district has migrants. They return and mix with people quietly, he said and added that vaccination is the only hope. Panigrahi demanded vaccination in the villages should be started as early possible to prevent the situation from worsening. 

 BJD MLA from Khariar, Rajendra Dholakia said that the administration is trying its best to deal with the situation. Nuapada does not have any medical facilities whatsoever. But things have remained under control so far and started improving, he said and added that four Covid care centres (CCCs) at Nuapada polytechnic, Khariar and Sinapali have been set up with 200 beds. 

With inputs from Danis Roy 


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