On 11 March 2020, World Health Organization declared Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) outbreak as a pandemic and reiterated the call for countries to take immediate actions and scale up response to treat, detect and reduce transmission to save people’s lives. In the beginning, neither the government nor the people, in general, had any idea of what was unfolding. The sense of being overtaken by pandemic was so devastating that it left no room for consideration about grave consequences. As things unfolded, there was realization that dedicating most of the hospitals to covid-19 patients wasn’t such a great idea. Given the limited resources, establishing hospitals at the speed it was done in China at the beginning could not have been once given a thought by the administration. Whatever was to be done had to be done within the existing infrastructure. Things have changed since and now 3rd wave of the pandemic has started. The government has again decided to shut OPDs and elective surgeries in key hospitals.
True there is a spike in covid-19 cases as the tally already swelled to 352623 and death toll to 4557. However the concerns for non-covid patients continue to be growing while the pandemic is spreading. Many patients would be suffering hugely either there would be no space for them in the hospitals, or they desist going there, fear they might contract the dreaded disease. Both these situations are not good, whatever way one looks at them as the patients are suffering, their ailments worsening, and as such endangers many lives. Amid this situation, the government cannot look at the other when it comes to making arrangements for regular patients. While finding the solution to such a situation is not an easy one to find, it is not as such where answers cannot be found. Many lessons have been learnt already and as such all key hospitals should not be made to shut OPDs. There are serious ailments, like cancer and chronic kidney ailments, which brook no delay. There are not many private clinics to cater regular patients. Where would these people go? There is a need to designate some hospitals for covid-19 patients and make the rest available for regular patient care. Alternatively, some emergency arrangements should be made for regular patient care. The present situation is not tenable, and the government should review the decision. While Covid-19 management cannot be ignored and needs serious focus, J&K cannot afford to ignore other killers as well.