Congress General Secretary Ajay Maken has alleged that the country from being a Vaccine Leader has been reduced to a Vaccine Beggar and rather than testing corona positive patients, the Government is testing the people’s patience.
Addressing a press conference virtually on Wednesday, Maken alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address on Tuesday was empty rhetoric. The states and common people were expecting relief from the Prime Minister but as always 18 minutes of the PM’s speech disappointed everyone. It had no direction, no empathy for the poor and those affected by the pandemic were left high and dry.
Maken said India declared the coronavirus pandemic to be a “disaster” on March 14, 2020. Ten days later, over a billion people were put under the world’s most severe lockdown, with the government arguing it needed time to expand the country’s healthcare capacity. It is high time that we effectively analyse the improvements if any, made in this direction.
India had started vaccination way back in 1948 to curb TB. The Jawaharlal Nehru government set up the first vaccine manufacturing unit in Chennai. Subsequently Indira Gandhi’s government eliminated smallpox through an intensive vaccination programme which was a huge public health success.
By 1971, India had 19 vaccine manufacturers and most global vaccines were made in India. In 1978, Indira Gandhi launched the national immunisation programme to manufacture BCG, OPV, DPT and typhoid-paratyphoid vaccines. This foundation has made India the global leader in vaccine production today.
“Would the Prime Minister care to answer that India being the world’s biggest vaccination producer, why is it that only 1.3% of Indians have so far been fully vaccinated?” he asked.
Why is it that despite being one of the largest medicine manufacturers, we are facing acute shortage of life saving medicines? the Congress leader questioned.
Why is it that despite having a surplus capacity of Oxygen, we are unable to supply medical oxygen to the Hospitals?
Why is it that at many places including the National Capital, it is taking 3 to 7 days to get report and test for COVID?
Why we wasted 15 months & failed to set up adequate health infrastructure, despite getting adequate time.
Why we failed to anticipate the second wave, despite it being a global phenomena? Early in the pandemic, it became clear that oxygen would be one of the most precious commodities in the battle against the virus. Yet, it took the Narendra Modi government eight months to invite bids for onsite oxygen generation plants.
It was only on October 21, the Central Medical Services Society, an autonomous institution under the Union health ministry, floated a tender online calling for bidders to establish Pressure Swing Adsorption oxygen plants in 150 (12 plants were added later taking it to 162) district hospitals across the country- the total outlay of which was just Rs 201.58 crores. After 13 months of the pandemic being declared as a adisaster’ under NDMA, only 32 out of 162 planned are ready so far.