The mounting distress caused by the covid-19 pandemic’s second surge is actually a necessary reminder of what governance must be in a crisis. More than forty thousand cases and over 250 deaths in J&K is only a grim milestone reached this month. The J&K is not the only place ravaged by the pandemic at present but compared to some states in India, the situation is not all that bad. At the same time, the situation could turn more precarious if the wherewithal to contain the contagion were not available and more importantly at appropriate time. Unfortunately, reports continue to pour in that there is a shortage of Tocilizumab and Remdesivir, both considered important drugs against covid-19. According to Doctors Association Kashmir, Tocilizumab reduces the risk of death when given to hospitalized patients with severe Covid-19 disease. The drug, as per a study also shortens the hospital stay and reduces the need for a mechanical ventilator. Its availability seems imperative especially in view of the health infrastructure in Jammu and Kashmir. Indeed, the ability to face up to dire news and then, to take corrective action is essential to defusing a crisis and the government must be at the forefront.
Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha’s statement that the Government is better equipped to handle the ongoing pandemic and that the people of J&K need not panic, is reassuring. He said one crore twenty lakh doses are ordered for vaccination of 18 to 45 age-group. Many Oxygen generation plants have become operational and remaining will also start functioning soon. The availability of oxygen is more than double the requirement, he said. However, pressing demands as regards the key drugs has started to take proportion which could be equated with crisis of sorts. The government must press for availability of the drugs such Tocilizumab and Remdesivir to meet the demand on the ground.
Drug Control department, as per the official communiqué, has served notices to all the stockiest authorized to procure injection Remdesivir from different pharma houses with the strict directions to supply the same to Government and Private Covid Designated Hospitals only and that too against proper supply orders and indents. The step is in the right direction and may prevent hoarding or sale to any other non-designated health institution, but more needs to be done to ensure the availability to every patient who needs the drug.