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Thursday, November 26, 2020

Goa Government needs to focus on saving lives, not saving its face :- Vijai Sardesai

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On Monday the 14th September we had the highest number of deaths in a single day in Goa. 14 deaths in a day in a small State, like Goa, is unacceptable. This is a clear sign that the COVID-19 situation in Goa is very critical and gone out of control due to sheer mismanagement, misplaced priorities and recklessness of this Government.

A government which was, till recently, tom-tomming the fact that we were doing the highest number of Tests per million should also now accept that we have the highest number of deaths per million. It amounts to more than 150 deaths per million as against the average of 58/million nationally and about 120/million globally. The Government should not give Statistics only when it suits its narrative of “Bhivpachi goroj na” or to show that everything is in control by downplaying the grim situation and in the bargain “killing” innocent people due to their gross mismanagement.

I am not interested in mere statistics or doing politics on this issue. This is not about comparing ourselves with other states or nations and fighting them. This is not even about fighting among ourselves. This is about fighting Corona for the sake of saving the precious lives of Goemkars. The Government may not be able save Goemkars from getting infected but the Government can definitely save Goemkars from dying. Saving lives is all that matters in this pandemic especially of the vulnerable sections of the Society. This is the primary duty of any responsible Government.

So let’s stop giving lame excuses like people are dying due to co-morbidity, etc. If co-morbidity is the cause of deaths, why are mostly only the common Goemkars succumbing and not the well heeled?

From the month of March 2020 when we had the first signs of COVID-19 in Goa, me and my party has been proactive and has been cautioning the Government and making constructive suggestions to tackle the serious pandemic effectively. However, the Government was not interested and played politics by downplaying the serious situation. The prevailing grim situation is a result of putting their political health and agenda before the public health and welfare of Goemkars.

BBC and the REUTERS reported in the last two days that many parts of India are running short of Oxygen which is crucial to save lives. Do we want a similar situation in Goa?

The Government in Goa has already messed up. Before it worsens further, we urge the Government to forget about saving their own political face and focus on saving the lives of Goemkars. We are all willing to fully support you in this fight. Shed your ego so that we can help Goemkars shed the virus.

In view of the grim situation and rising caseload and deaths in Goa, I, as always, want to offer the following constructive SUGGESTIONS for the effective management of the deteriorating COVID-situation in Goa:

1) Get your priorities right. Focus only on controlling the COVID-situation. Leave everything aside. Don’t increase the caseload for Doctors and Nurses with your recklessness of opening of Schools, etc.
2) Don’t distract Goans with frivolous issues and projects such as beautification projects, political surveys etc.
3) Follow the Golden Principle: Test ! Test ! Test ! Enhance testing facilities with another RT-PCR machine at the Margao/Fatorda/South Goa District Hospital.
4) Streamline Testing procedures so that suspected cases are tested without delay and the results made available within hours not days.
5) Fully implement and upgrade the dedicated COVID-Management Facilities. The WHO had suggested the following THREE-TIERED COVID-Management Strategy from the very beginning: a) Dedicated COVID CARE CENTRES for mild cases; b) Dedicated COVID HEALTH CENTRES for moderate cases and c) Dedicated COVID HOSPITALS for severe or critical cases. There was wisdom in this as it was meant to save lives by giving proper attention to patients due to their severity of illness and to see that the Doctors, Nurses and other Caregivers are not burdened with unnecessary and unmanageable caseload. It appears we have not taken this wisdom of WHO borne out of their Global experience of past pandemics seriously.

In view of the above, I suggest that the Super-Specialty block of GMC be turned into a FULL-FLEDGED DEDICATED COVID HOSPITAL with all the required facilities and multi-specialties to treat SEVERE or CRITICAL Cases of COVID-19.

If that is done then, parts of both the District Hospitals, in addition to also some parts of the Private Hospitals, can be turned into dedicated COVID HEALTH CENTRES to treat cases of moderate severity.

The plan to have at least one dedicated COVID CARE CENTRE in each taluka to treat mild cases should be fully implemented.

6) Provide the above three types of dedicated facilities with the necessary human and material resources even if it means emergency recruitment or procurement.
7) Above all, BE TRANSPARENT, BE HONEST with Goemkars! Don’t try to hide or downplay facts as that will lead to a false sense of security among Goemkars.

I also call on all Goemkars to take the evolving COVID-19 situation in Goa very seriously and act responsibly. Our responsible actions, as individuals, groups or institutions, can help to save lives in Goa by not burdening more the Healthcare System that is already at its breaking point. The coming two months are crucial for Goa. It is no time to relax and party yet. Until we have the vaccine readily available or there is a flattening of the curve in Goa, we cannot proclaim that the storm has passed Goa.

It is pertinent to note what Bhramar Mukherjee, a professor of biostatistics and epidemiology at the University of Michigan, who has been tracking India’s COVID situation closely, had to say about the situation in India just a couple of days back. She said: “I am so disappointed with the pandemic situation in India. It is getting worse and worse each week but a large part of the nation seems to have made the choice to ignore this crisis”.

Goemkars, we can ignore the worsening situation in Goa to our own and our loved ones peril. If Government is not able or not interested in saving us, we have to save ourselves.

Stay Safe! Stay Blessed! Be Responsible! Be Saviors of Each Other!

Dev Borem Korum!

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