NHRC Issues Notices to GNCT Delhi for Mismanagement of Health Infrastructure

The National Human Rights Commission, (NHRC), issued notices to Government of NCT Delhi(GNCT) and the Union Health & Family Welfare Ministry in response to the growing mismanagement of the health-infrastructure in Delhi. The notice professes that the general public are facing problems due to non-availability of beds in the hospitals treating COVID-19 patients. Moreover, it alleges the Government to have conducted insufficient number of tests. The government has also denied permission to private hospitals, earlier authorised, to conduct tests. It is amusing how the bulletin showed 3700 tests as of today and 7649 as of 29th May. These kinds of glitches are serious threats to the future of the state.

This has led to a dangerous upsurge in number of deaths in the National Capital. In addition, it claimed that the authorities caused irrational amount of delay in conducting the last rites of the persons deceased by COVID-19. ICMR Doctors also neglect to perform tests on symptomatic deceased. This is in clear violation of the ICMR and WHO guidelines.

Allegations against the mismanagement of health infrastructure in Delhi

Acknowledging the complaint by Ajay Maken, Ex-President, Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee, the Commission observed that:

He has not come up with mere allegations, rather he has made apparent sincere efforts to provide data in support of his complaint, which if true, raise a serious issue of the inappropriate approach of the government agencies towards the plight of the general public amounting to a serious issue of violation of human rights.”

Notably, the commission ordered both GNCT Delhi and the Union Health & Family Welfare Ministry to partner and prepare a comprehensive report within 10 days. Simultaneously, the GNCT Delhi will increase the number of beds and tests per day for tackling COVID-19 pandemic.

The Commission has also come across several complaints of the general public regarding the unorganised treatment protocols in the State. The Commission took suo-moto cognizance of certain shocking incidents. One of those being the death of a 32 year  old police constable due to delay in admission for COVID-19 treatment. The Commission clarified that it understands the plight of the Government agencies and health care staff. However, the State must not abstain from giving their best efforts for the welfare of its people. The recovery rate in the nation is above 48%, yet the National capital is one of the worst affected cities so far.

Unavailability of beds in a state holding 70% vacant beds.

The complaint highlights how patients are running from one hospital to another in search for treatment of COVID-19. A chart presented by him exclaims that the GNCTD has a robust hospital infrastructure of 57,194 beds with the aid of the Central Government hospitals. Yet, only 12% of Delhi Government and 8% of Central Government plus 7% private hospital beds are occupied till date. 70% of these beds are left vacant. The Delhi Government is blatantly denying beds to people struggling for treatment every day from the virus.

Additionally, the Government has 38 health institutions out of which 33 are not accepting COVID-19 patients.

Furthermore, the complaint refers to the Dr. Mahesh Verma Committee report. The committee estimated that the State will require almost 42000 beds by mid of July, 20% of which have to be ventilator equipped. Hence, Delhi needs 1700 ventilators currently which estimates to 10000 for mid-July. Presently, there are only 472 ventilators in Delhi which is not sufficient to improve the situation.

The complainant also stated that as on 29th April, the state bore 3439 COVID-positive cases categorising 102 containment zones. Later when the number of cases increased to 30000, there were 183 containment zones. The Government has thus taken a risky step in relaxing the lockdown in gravely affected areas of the State. It is severely damaging the lives of the people residing in the State.