Rural dispensaries shut, villagers left in lurch – The Tribune India

Manav Mander

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 8

Amid a high fatality rate in rural areas in the ongoing Covid-19 wave, villagers have been left in the lurch as most dispensaries are lying shut as the staff have been put on Covid duties elsewhere.

Due to this, many villagers reach hospitals late in critical condition. According to Health Department data, 83.92 per cent patients from rural areas visited a hospital when their condition deteriorated, only 0.11 per cent went to a hospital after showing moderate Covid symptoms and 7 per cent after getting mild symptoms.

In Punjab, there are 1,183 dispensaries having 765 rural medical officers (RMOs). Before the pandemic, the OPDs in the rural dispensaries used to get nearly 30,000-35,000 patients per month.

However, the dispensaries were shut after the outbreak last year and the staff were put on Covid duties. In between whenever cases showed a downward trend, the dispensaries opened.

“We go to the dispensary in our village whenever we face any health problem. When the doctors are needed most, the dispensaries are lying shut. Generally, rural folk avoid going to a private hospital. Recently, we lost a close relative to Covid as he kept ignoring his

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