Lucknow: The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has continued to wreak havoc in urban pockets, appears to be accelerating in the rural hinterland of Uttar Pradesh where health facilities are already in a terrible state, it There is a lack of testing facilities and COVID-appropriate behavior is only rhetorical.

the absence adequate medical facilities in these rural areas, the shortage of doctors and paramedics in community health centers (CHCs) at the block level and the lack of awareness of the severity of the disease appear to worsen the situation. In many districts, authorities do not have records of deaths caused by the deadly virus.

According to data from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, 14,80,315 cases were reported between March 23 and May 9, while the death toll was 15,170. There are 2,45,736 cases. active in the state.

According to official figures, a total of 6.3 lakh COVID-19 cases were recorded in UP over the 13-month period – from March 22, 2020 to April 4, 2021. As of April 4, more than 8 lakh new COVID- 19 of the cases were reported in 34 days, bringing the total to 14.8 lakh.

Despite the start of the second wave, panchayat elections have also been held in the state in recent weeks. Many health experts have blamed the Bharatiya Janata party government led by Yogi Adityanath for holding panchayat elections amid the massive COVID-19 crisis in the state. They said that during the first wave of the pandemic in 2020 in Uttar Pradesh, rural areas remained more or less untouched despite the large-scale migration of workers following the unplanned nationwide lockdown. . But this time around, panchayat elections, Mahakumbh, weddings, religious events, and people traveling for panchayat polls from major cities have compounded the COVID-19 crisis in villages.

Rajdev Chaturvedi, an Azamgarh-based health activist associated with the Health Watch Forum, an NGO that focuses on the health crisis in rural areas, said: “Many people in rural areas are suffering from high fever, coughs and also complain of respiratory problems. . Patients infected with the virus have not yet been tested in most rural areas because they are totally dependent on “jhola chhap“Doctors (charlatans) for treatment in the absence of sufficient and accessible health facilities,” Chaturvedi said NewsClick, adding that the panchayat elections have turned out to be a “super broadcast” phenomenon in villages as polls have forced many voters to return home from Mumbai, Delhi and Gujarat. “Most of them are now sick. Social distancing standards to curb COVID-19 infection were launched during panchayat elections in Uttar Pradesh, ”he added.

According to Chaturvedi, more than 605 new cases of infection were reported in Azamgarh district on Friday, where at least five have died from the virus. There are approximately 4,946 active cases in the district. “COVID patients, due to lack of bed, oxygen and medicine, die every day. Four days ago, at least 17 patients died at PGI, Azamgarh,” he said.

Health officials say that apart from the panchayat elections, a large number of pilgrims visited Haridwar Kumbh and several of them tested positive. About 50% of reported cases come from small towns or villages, even when the tests are much lower than what is required. The number of active COVID-19 cases is almost nine to ten times greater than it was last year.

Speaking about the situation in Banda district, Raja Bhaiya, secretary of Vidya Dham Samiti, an NGO in Banda, said that many people in every village “are sick and are dying quickly.”

“Patients cannot reach hospitals without resources and those who do do not have beds or oxygen. I cannot quantify how many people have died in Banda district, but in Attara block which has more than one lakh, 250 people have died so far, “said Raja Bhaiya. NewsClick, adding that deaths from the virus are not properly recorded by district authorities. “If 200 people die from the coronavirus, only 5 to 10 are recorded,” the activist said.

“The villagers ignore the fever and body aches and treat them as symptoms of seasonal flu which they believe will go away over time. Before they realize it’s corona, they die, ”the health activist said. NewsClick.

ALARM SITUATION IN VILLAGES, MAY TURN INTO A CRISIS

Compared to the first wave of the pandemic where cases were limited, the current wave has spread rapidly in tehsils and rural areas. In western Uttar Pradesh, Saharanpur, Meerut and Amroha, in Purvanchal, Azamgarh, Ballia, Gorakhpur and Deoria have seen a sharp increase in the number of cases.

According to data from the state health department, on May 6, 63 cases were reported in Budhana tehsil, 94 in Morna tehsil, 175 in Muzaffarnagar Rural, 264 in Muzzafarnagar Urban, 59 in Khatauli tehsil and 57 cases in Jansath tehsil, which also reported 21 deaths. The state government has recommended rapid antigen testing for villages to collect data on infected patients.

As of May 7, 190 people had died in Ballia from COVID-19. More than 70 of these deaths have occurred in the past 21 days. According to government figures, there are a total of 3,012 active cases in the district, with 2,554 people isolated at home.

Likewise, 55 people have died of fever in the Juggaur viilage – 19 km from Lucknow – in the past two weeks. In Rudauli de Barabanki, half a dozen villagers died in the village of Pakkaudi, prompting the district administration to carry out surveillance. In Ayodhya village in Bhaupur, 32 people have been found positive for COVID-19 after deaths were reported.

Neeraj Mishra, former president of the Resident Doctors’ Welfare Association (RDWA) at King George’s Medical University (KGMU), said that during the first wave they could quickly identify new cases and isolate them because there was a lockdown and therefore movement was limited. . “But in the second wave, all the protocols were drawn in the panchayat elections. The state government still uses the coup-and-trial method in rural areas despite the second wave that led to devastation in major cities like Lucknow, Varanasi, Kanpur and Prayagraj. There are no ambulances, oxygen or medical facilities. Where will the villagers go once things get out of hand? Hospitals in the cities are all filled to the brim, “Mishra said NewsClick, adding that the “corona bomb” will soon explode in rural areas. He also felt that the panchayat elections can be held responsible for the looming crisis.

Also read: COVID-19: Lack of oxygen and obsolete ventilators endanger lives in Bihar

Dr Mohan from Sitapur said only comprehensive testing could reveal the truth about the COVID-19 crisis in the villages. “It is high time that we focused on treatment instead of building teams of nodal agents for inspection, as the infection has already spread to the villages.shiksha mitras“And other state employees were sent to voting centers for electoral duty, despite complaining of COVID-like symptoms; they ended up infecting others. Now the need of the hour is to make oxygen and drugs, especially steroids, available to primary and community health centers so that those with symptoms can be tested and treated immediately. “

Meanwhile, the Allahabad High Court on Friday ordered the government of Uttar Pradesh to explain how it was dealing with the spike in COVID-19 cases in rural and suburban areas and small towns across the state.

The smaller districts and towns were sadly overlooked and also failed to gain media attention, the petition said in court. “An increase in the number of cases is now also observed in rural areas and the situation has worsened alarmingly due to lack of proper medical care,” he said.

According to the Department of Health, on April 1, Lucknow, Kanpur, Prayagraj and Varanasi were the only districts in Uttar Pradesh where more than 100 cases of COVID-19 were reported. As of April 27, however, between 100 and 500 are reported daily in 41 districts of rural origin. The mortality rate in districts of rural origin also increased by more than 10% between April 15 and 25. “At least two people in each household suffer from fever and other illnesses. There are also many patients who are forced to treat themselves by taking oxygen at home because the government has failed, ”said Rakesh Singh, who lives in the village of Bansgaon which has 8,000 inhabitants and 3,000 households.

It should also be noted that 800 government employees are said to have deceased due to COVID-19 following their deputation for panchayat polls in the state.

Accusing the UP government led by Yogi Adityanath of “gross negligence” in the conduct of panchayat polls amid growing cases of COVID-19, the Rashtriya Shaikshik Mahasangh (RSM) – a teachers’ union affiliated with RSS, had said NewsClick that the government and the state election commission are responsible for the deaths of the employees.

COMPLETE CLOSURE OF OPD SERVICES

Amid the ongoing crisis, the government of Uttar Pradesh has completely shut down open-air patient services (OPD) statewide in the past 15 days. The decision was made by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath after reviewing the state’s COVID-19 situation with other senior officers.

“Those who have fever, cold, cough or body aches have no way to go or see a doctor. Therefore, they have only one option left: doctors’ jhola chap ‘. If the OPDs had been operational at that time, doctors would have been able to recommend isolation in L1, L2, L3 or at home. City dwellers have the option of seeing private doctors, but What about the villagers? ”asked Dinkar Kapoor, member of the All India People’s Front (Radical).

Last year, the Allahabad High Court passed a DIP ordinance filed by the Indian People’s Front through its national spokesperson SR Darapuri, a retired IPS officer. The court asked the government to explain the restrictions on hospitals and nursing homes.

Meanwhile, with active COVID-19 cases affecting a record and growing number of critical patients struggling for life amid a shortage of beds, medical supplies, drugs and oxygen, it has emerged that ventilators sent by central government using PM CARE funds are gathering dust in several Uttar Pradesh district hospitals, including Agra, Ballia, Deoria, Balrampur, Siddharthnagar and Sitapur.

Also Read: India Records 4.03,738 New COVID-19 Cases, 2.42,362 Deaths