14 Reasons Why Problems of Non-Covid Patients Have Increased

Bharat Dogra

As health services are increasingly geared towards meeting the requirements  of COVID-19 outbreak and as prolonged lockouts are imposed in many parts of the world including India , the problems of non-COVID patients are increasing in several respects and this is going to have very troubling implications for patients with very serious and life-threatening ailments or injuries.

1. As compared to normal times the number of patients who do not have cash for their treatment has increased very considerably as lockdowns have led to a serious disruption of livelihoods and due payments.

2. In normal times help for seriously ailing patients is often facilitated by friends and relatives who gather quickly in an emergency situation. Chances of this have decreased significantly have decreased significantly in lockout times.

3.It is much more difficult to  get transport for quickly rushing to hospital in an emergency in conditions of lockout and often a curfew or lockout pass may be needed for this which takes its own time.

4. If a non-Covid patients manages to reach a hospital or health facility it may have been diverted for Covid patients or else its normal facilities may have been curtailed for Covid priorities.

5. Some patients despite being serious may be asked to leave hospital prematurely due to Covid priorities.

6. Important surgeries or procedures for several patients may be cancelled or postponed.

7. Possibilities of falling ill have increased due to increase of poverty, unemployment, hunger and malnutrition.

8. In conditions of loss of jobs and future uncertainty, increasing poverty and hunger, temporary loss of contact with families and friends, mental health problems have increased which in turn leads to increase of possibilities of other ailments.

9. In such conditions of possibilities of violent behavior, self-harm and suicides or suicide efforts also increase.

10. There may be a disruption of supply chain of some essential medicines and medical equipment.

11. Even when there is no such overall serious shortage of medicines or medical aids patients may not get medicine locally and due to lockout may not be able to access from a more distant or new place  in time.

12. Due to curtailment of OPD in many health facilities and hospitals, possibilities of timely diagnosis and treatment of potentially serious conditions decrease.

13. There is likely to be more difficulty in accessing blood from blood banks or donors in lockout conditions.

14. Migrant workers and their children who may have been forced into conditions of walking unimagined distances face higher chances of several health problems with little chance of timely treatment.

Hence there is a clear need for giving urgent attention to these aspects of health care particularly emergency life-saving care.  

The writer is a freelance journalist who has been involved with several social movements.  

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Apr 20, 2020

Bharat Dogra

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