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Maharashtra: Central Govt Report Finds Inadequate Supply of Oxygen and Manpower Across Multiple Districts

Maharashtra: Central Govt Report Finds Inadequate Supply of Oxygen and Manpower Across Multiple Districts

A report submitted by the Central Government states that lack of oxygen supply, manpower, and malfunctioning ventilators are proving detrimental in the battle against coronavirus across several districts of Maharashtra. The report was submitted after on-site visits by central teams across 30 districts of the state that are the most affected by COVID-19.

The centre went on to say that COVID-19 norms in these regions have to be better enforced with the report adding that mask-wearing and social distancing was found to be lacking in the regions surveyed.

The report also added that an acute shortage of manpower is being witnessed in at least six districts across the state, and hospitals in four districts are on the brink of reaching capacity, while oxygen appears to be inadequate in four districts.

Union Health Secretary, Rajesh Bhushan shared the details of the report with Maharashtra Principal Health Secretary Dr Pradeep Vyas on Saturday, April 10. Teams visiting on behalf of the centre have maintained that improving testing, contact tracing, containment, and standard COVID-19 protocol along with vaccinations is the best way to mitigate the spread of the virus.

The teams visited 20 districts across the state including Aurangabad, Bhandara, Nagpur, Nandurbar, Osmanabad, Palghar, Pune, Sangli, and Satara to name a few. The report found that hospital bed occupancy was almost touching full capacity in regions like Ahmednagar, Aurangabad, Nagpur, and Nandurbar. 

Visiting officials noted that occupancy of ICU beds had touched 100 per cent in Ahmednagar while 81 per cent of the ventilator beds were taken in the region. 

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Meanwhile, Aurangabad was seeking help from nearby districts for managing critical COVID-19 patients, the team went on to say. Further, in regions like Bhandara, Osmanabad, Palghar, and Pune, officials found that medical oxygen was in short supply. Keeping this in mind, central officials have directed hospitals and other district-level officials to draft a plan to improve the supply of these necessary tools. 

Containment measures continue to be the biggest challenge for authorities as noted by the centre’s team. Regions like Aurangabad, Sangli, and Satara were blamed for inadequate surveillance for influenza-like illness (ILI). 

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“Efforts at surveillance and contact tracing were found to be sub-optimal in Buldhana, Satara, Aurangabad and Nanded too, mostly due to limited manpower engaged in this task. The team from Bhandara has reported that most cases are being reported from outside of containment zones,” the report said.

Teams visiting Nanded and Buldhana were found to be performing less than 70 per cent RT-PCR tests, relying instead on rapid antigen tests. The team also discovered that there was some resistance from the locals when the officials approached them for testing, a familiar sight for health officials across the country.

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