Maharashtra has been in the forefront in varied sectors of the national economy. Industry, infrastructure, exports, GDP share, foreign investments etc to name a few. However, given the present scenario past one and half years, the situation has changed across the globe due to Corona Pandemic.
The whole world has been grappling with this pandemic and Maharashtra is no exception to it.Under the able Leadership of Chief Minister, Shri Uddhav Thackeray, numerous measures have been taken since then, to tackle and control it. The state government has pulled up its socks is providing all the necessary help, guidance, medical treatment and has facilitated adequate machinery and resources to keep the pandemic at bay. The Chief Minister has been boosting up the morale of its citizens from time to time by directly communicating with the people one-on-one.
Initially, the state government did not possess adequate medical machinery to counter the disease in the Year 2020. Despite some hiccups, it started to gear up medically to combat the terrible situation. Today, the State has been successful to bring down the count of Covidpatients and the recovery rate has also increased.
In the present scenario, Maharashtra has been leading in providing vaccination to its people across the State. The government has appointed a ‘Task Force’ constituting eminent Doctors with various specializations in view of the anticipated third wave of Corona. This article throws light upon the dedicated efforts taken by the state for the control and management of Corona.
When corona infection started last year, the state did not have adequate equipment, suitable medications and other related facilities. However, the equipment and facilities have been geared over the last year. The state has set up facilities like Covid Care Centres, beds, ICU facilities, ventilators, medicines, masks, oxygen plants. With the increase in the medical and allied facilities and imposing strict restrictions during lockdown, the number of patients has started coming under control. The second wave of corona in the state in March this year added to the challenges. Especially, difficulties were faced for oxygen cylinder availability. However, the state immediately has launched ‘Mission Oxygen’. Under which, 1,300 metric tonnes of oxygen is being produced per day. It is noteworthy that the state has set a target of producing 3,000 metric tonnes of oxygen per day. In terms of vaccination, Maharashtra has been the first in the country in giving both the doses and the second in providing total dosages so far.
At the beginning of the second wave of Corona infection in the state this year, the number of patients per day went upto 60,000. To deal with this, strict restrictions were put in place for treatment facilities, oxygen availability and infection prevention. As a result of which the daily count of corona patients in the state was curtailed and presently, it has come down to 3 to 4 thousand. In addition to the facilities set up by the state government during the first wave, new treatment facilities have been set up this time.
Facilities Available in the State
Presently, there are 609 testing laboratories and more than 5,000 Covid Care Centers in the state. So far, 6,959 treatment related facilities have been prepared to prevent Corona infection, including 4,97,097 isolation beds (excluding ICU beds). It has 1 lakh 21 thousand oxygen beds. The state has 36,702 ICU beds and 14,245 ventilators. 3 lakh 51 thousand 330 beds are available for Covid patients. 1 lakh 27 thousand 721 isolation beds, 15 lakh 86 thousand 96 PPE kits and 26 lakh 18 thousand 860 N95 masks have been provided to the frontline workers for suspected Covid patients.
Keeping in mind the importance of oxygen for the treatment of corona patients, ‘Mission Oxygen’ has been implemented in the state. 1300 metric tonnes of oxygen is being produced per day and the target is to increase this capacity to 3000 metric tonnes. System of Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) is being established in district hospitals, medical colleges and private hospitals of the state to produce the required quantity of oxygen. By the end of June, about 38 PSA plants were operational, producing about 53 metric tonnes of oxygen per day. Oxygen production is being increased in the state through sugar factories, paper, steel, petroleum, fertilizer and refinery industries. In the wake on second phase of Corona and the increasing demand for oxygen, Maharashtra had taken 350 metric tonnes of oxygen from other states.
The state government provided financial assistance for the related arrangements to deal with the crisis of corona infection. 3,300 crores were provided for corona prevention measures through district planning committees. 350 MLAs of the state through their local development funds contributed to spendRs 350 crores on various measures to prevent corona. To deal with the Corona crisis, Rs 8,955.29 crore has been allocated for the Health Department and Rs 1,941.64 crore for the Medical Education Department in this year’s budget of the state.
Patient Recovery Rate 97.08 percent
Till the first week of September, the recovery rate of corona patients in the state was 97.08 percent, while this rate was 97.48 percent in the country and 89.48 percent in the world. Out of 5 crore 60 lakh 88 thousand 114 laboratory samples tested so far in the state, 65 lakh 617 samples have been tested positive. In comparison, 63 lakh 9 thousand 21 patients have gone home after recovering from this disease. The mortality rate of corona patients in the state is 2.12 percent and so far 1 lakh 37 thousand 897 people have died due to this disease.
Tops in Vaccination
Corona preventive vaccination has gained momentum in the state. By the first week of September, Maharashtra has become the first in the country by giving one dose to 1 crore 76 lakh 45 thousand 855 citizens of the state. As soon as the vaccine is made available from the central government, the state has also made a record of vaccinating more than 11 lakh people in a day. Maharashtra ranks second in the country in giving first and second dose to 6 crore 40 lakh 78 thousand 919 people in the state.
According to the vaccine received from the central government, about 3 to 4 lakh citizens are being given vaccination every day in the state. 37.88 percent of the population between the age group of 18 and 44 have been given the first dose of the vaccine, while 55.24 percent of those over the age group of 45 have received at least one dose. A total of 64,078,919 people including health workers, frontline workers, people above 45 years of age and citizens between 18 and 44 years have been vaccinated so far.
Constitution of ‘Covid Task Force’; ‘My Doctor’ medical conference organized
The State Health and Family Welfare Minister Rajesh Tope under the able leadership of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, has been coordinating with the concerned departments to fight the disease and provide all the required facilities. A ‘Task Force’ of specialist doctors has been constituted under the supervision of Chief Minister Mr. Thackeray to deal with corona situation. Dr. Sanjay Oak is the chairman of this task force and Dr. Shashank Joshi, Dr. Rahul Pandit, Dr.Ajit Desai etc. are its members. Medical experts predict that the third wave of Corona will be dangerous for young children. In this context, a task force of pediatricians has also been constituted. Dr.SuhasPrabhu is the chairman of this 14-member task force. The Chief Minister is in constant touch with these task forces and guides them by participating in the medical conferences organized by these task forces from time to time.
Effective preparations for a possible third wave
Chief Minister As Guardian
Since the outbreak of Corona in the state, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has been interacting with people from time to time in a guardian’s role and guiding them to stay aware continuously till the Corona war is over. He interacts with the public through Facebook Live from time to time. He keeps apprising about the measures being taken by the state government and appeals to people to adopt hygiene habits in their daily lives and follow the instructed rules as laid down by the government.
The Chief Minister has also started two initiatives for the fight against Corona — ‘My family my responsibility’ and ‘I am responsible’ in a dialogue with the people. He has also announced ‘Mission Begin Again’ and ‘Break the Chain’ on this platform to help the state emerge from the Corona situation. The Chief Minister has announced a relief package of Rs 5,476 crore to provide relief to the people during ‘Break the Chain’ restrictions. Effective implementation of these programs is being done at the grassroots level.
In line with the great tradition that Maharashtra holds, the state is capable of overcoming various crises since the time of history. Presently, it is successfully resisting the corona infection and is moving towards controlling the epidemic. Facilities are being set up in the state on a large scale and vaccination program is being implemented at a faster pace. The State Government machinery is getting all geared up to deal with the possible third wave through effective implementation of other important measures and programs as well.