Crisis management committees only to recommend lockdowns?

Bhopal: The District Crisis Management Committees (DCMC) that could have played the most crucial role in combating the corona pandemic has been reduced to a decorative body only for recommending lockdown, feel health experts.

“The objective of crisis management committees is to make a specific plan to combat with pandemic, coordinate and implement the action plan. Therefore, representatives from important sections of the society are members of this committee,” said Dr Bhanu Dubey, former dean of the Gandhi Medical College.

The DCMCs are constituted with members like MLAs, MP, Chief Medical and Health Officer, Civil Surgeon, senior police official and is headed by the collector of the respective district, he added.

Government should try to include more medical experts and representatives from various communities. This helps in realising the ground reality and making proper action plan, said Amulya Nidhi, founder and convener of Swasthya Adhikar Manch. The committees of mohalla or ward-level have not been constituted yet, he said.

Giving example, he said that the DCMC should have taken help of the ‘medical representatives association’ to deal with black marketing and shortage of life saving Remdesivir injection. A member from their association in the DCMC could have given better advice to deal with the situation.

Similarly, independent medical experts in the DCMC can express their opinion without any fear because the CMHO is part of the government system and rarely goes against the wishes of the government. “During the pandemic, medical experts should have the final say but it now seems otherwise,” he added.

The DCMCs should develop ward or zone wise plans and prepare a task force for it. Similar plans should be made for the rural areas as well.

Several states including Bihar and Kerala called all-party meeting to cope up with the pandemic but it is missing in Madhya Pradesh.

They way lockdowns were announced in most of the districts demonstrate lack of expertise. Sudden announcements created panic among people who rushed to markets at the last moment to buy essentials. Instead of breaking the pandemic chain it helped corona virus spread. Some districts like Gwalior and Damoh took precaution and gave public a day’s time.

DCMC meetings become formality

Meeting of the DCMC in Bhopal have been called to decide on the lockdown or closing of the schools. Members suggestions were overlooked that even led to some members boycotting the meeting.

Similarly in Indore, Congress MLAs were not taken in the district crisis management committees. They allege politicisation of the committee.

State-level empowered committee constituted but no meeting yet

Though a 12-member state-level advisory committee was constituted on April 14, 2021 but not a single meeting has been held till date. This state committee included former president of Indian Medical Association (IMA) Dr Mukul Tiwari and not the present president Dr Anoop Nigam. Such steps indicate that favourtism has taken over the real objective, said a medical expert. This could be reflected in the DCMCs as well, he added.