Prayagraj, May 18 : The Allahabad High Court has said that the medical infrastructure in villages and small towns in Uttar Pradesh is 'Ram Bharose' (at the mercy of God).
"If this is the state of affairs of a medical college in a city like Meerut, then the healthcare system of the state, particularly in towns and villages can be likened to the famous Hindi saying - 'Ram Bharose'," the court observed on Monday, adding it was a case of "high degree carelessness".
The court was referring to the disposal of the body of a patient, Santosh Kumar, as unidentified in Meerut district hospital.
"A patient is admitted to the hospital in absolute care of doctors and paramedical staff and if they adopt a casual approach, then it is a case of serious misconduct. They are playing with the lives of innocent people. In these few months, we have realised that the state's medical infrastructure as it stands today, is very delicate, fragile and debilitated," the court observed.
Hearing a PIL on Covid care, a division bench comprising Justice Siddhartha Varma and Justice Ajit Kumar directed additional chief secretary (medical and health), Uttar Pradesh, to file an affidavit, fixing responsibility in the matter.
The court fixed May 22 as the next date of hearing.
It also suggested to the government to take steps to produce vaccines on its own, while observing that "one cannot understand why the government of ours, which is a welfare state, is not trying to manufacture vaccines by itself on a large scale".
Criticising the government for its failure to ramp up the medical infrastructure in the state, the court warned: "If we fail to identify a Covid-infected person at the earliest, we are definitely inviting a third wave." The court suggested that facilities at all hospitals and nursing homes in the state must be improved.
"In Uttar Pradesh, apart from the Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute (SGPGI) and universities like King George's Medical University and Banaras Hindu University, there are five other medical colleges, which should be equipped with modern facilities within four months. Emergency laws should be applied for land acquisition to upgrade medical infrastructure. Funds should be provided forthwith so that they graduate from a medical college to an institute at par with SGPGI," the bench said.
The court directed the state government to come up with a definitive report by the next hearing on ways to upgrade medical colleges within the deadline.
"If we have to test 30 per cent of Bijnor's population in three months, which is around 10 lakhs, we will have to conduct 10,000 tests per day. But going by the district magistrate's statement, we do not see any robust testing machinery in the near future in Bijnor or five other districts.
"If this is the state of affairs, one can guess where we are leading people when the third wave of the pandemic strikes," it added.
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