Agartala: The Tripura high court on Friday directed the state government to file an affidavit within September 18 providing detailed information on the infrastructure available in state-run Govind Ballabh Panth Hospital to treat coronavirus patients.
Taking suo motu cognizance of media reports on the plight of COVID-19 patients and their relatives in the hospital, a division bench, comprising Chief Justice Akil Qureshi and Justice Subhashish Talapatra, observed that time has come when the court needs to make inquiries from the government on matters concerning the handling of coronavirus spread in Tripura and more particularly about health care facilities for those who have tested positive for coronavirus infection.
The Bench directed the government to inform it about the total number of coronavirus cases, condition of COVID-19 treatment centres with the break-up of necessary infrastructure, availability of medicines, the medical and paramedical workforce in such centres, lack of communication between patients and their relatives, fund allocation and steps are taken to improve the condition of state-run COVID-19 treatment centres.
According to the official figures available with the court, Tripura has 2,865 hospital beds across the state for coronavirus patients. These include district hospitals, COVID-19 care centres and COVID-19 hospitals.
Of the 2,865 beds, GBP Hospital has 240 beds, which has recently been increased from 180 in the hospitals COVID- 19 ward.
The high court observed that GBP Hospital has 279 patients as on date, which is higher than the total number of beds available at the facility.
At present only 19 ventilators are available in Tripura, and all of them are at GBP Hospital.
In this situation, any patient with acute breathing difficulty, which is a symptom of COVID-19, will have to be shifted to Agartala, the court observed.
The high court’s intervention comes at a time when Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb is touring districts, urging hospital authorities to treat COVID-19 patients there, instead of referring all of them to Agartala.
Welcoming the high court’s observation, Advocate General Arun Kanti Bhowmik said, the court’s intervention would help the Government to solve any “outstanding problems” that might exist.
“Healthcare system was backward for half a century or more. We have lots of inadequacy and the government is trying its best to improve the situation, but it also has constraints. We expect the high court will deal with the matter in an appropriate manner so that the government can face the problem more effectively,” Bhowmik said.