Post Mortem

COVID crime against Tuensang district

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 5/29/2020 1:51:11 PM IST

 The government of the day has poured in crores of rupees in order to set up quarantine centers in Kohima and Dimapur. Kohima has Meriema quarantine center, K-Badze quarantine center, ATI quarantine center and Ayush Hospital Chedema and NHAK as COVID Hospital with refurbished facilities by crores of rupees (more than 11 crores) in order to accommodate the 8 districts of Nagaland. The BSL-3 testing lab is also set up in Kohima. 

At present the government is spending lakhs in preparing JNV as a quarantine center. Next in line are NU, St. Joseph College and Science College. It has also many Government establishments, private hotels, buildings and facilities which can be requisitioned by the government any time.

However, Tuensang had just one big quarantine center in the form of Sao Chang College which is now declared as a containment zone. The only rustic Hospital Tuensang with one COVID positive returnee is again a containment zone. On enquiry the DC office Tuensang (as seen on Government portal) has received only 12 lakhs to tackle the entire COVID pandemic. 

Now with Sao Chang College sealed, the greatest worry for Tuensang people is which place to be used as a quarantine center. The option now is only some private high schools.

Kohima has two COVID positive returnee lodged at Chedema hospital, which is in the outskirt of Kohima town. It is well prepared in advance by the government with much greater facilities. However the people of Tuensang have now one COVID positive returnee and 168 suspects/exposed COVID returnees who were blatantly exposed due to some senseless decision by some officers. It is sad and unfortunate that government SOPs were not followed. Tuensang now has directly 169 and more COVID related returnees to take care which is much more than the whole Nagaland combined.

Sao Chang College as a containment zone is hosting 150 returnee and JNV Chare hosting 15 returnees has common toilets and latrine and within a matter of few days and week, all the returnees might become positive. Hence logically Tuensang is dealing with 169+ more COVID positive returnees. 

Tuensang will explode if immediate mitigation work is not initiated by the Tuensang people. A human time ticking bomb has reached Tuensang in the form of our own brothers and sister. And the Kohima people and authority who sent them without proper health safety SOPs of the government has done a crime against humanity, crime against the people of Tuensang. 

History will never forgive if the mistake committed by some individuals in power corridor backfires to wipe the otherwise silent town. Only time will tell the real threat of COVID cases, if not tackled nicely by the people of Tuensang. We need all available resources to tackle the situation.  

Tuensang do not have any medical facilities. “House of Hope” Longpang, run by ECS, is the only public private partnership PHC, which is 27 kilometers away from Tuensang. This PHC is the nearest hospital for people of Tuensang where only one doctor and some nurses are stationed. The government hospital of Tuensang has just one non-functional ventilator and very less medical personals. But it is a shame for the state government, that due to the lack of facilities within Tuensang town, we now have to shift the general patients to a very remote location at Longpang PHC. The NHAK has 62 doctors whereas the whole of Tuensang has very less doctors, less than NHAK alone. If the returnees are not given healthy diet then it would accelerate the COVID cases which would again spiral more problems for the citizens of Tuensang.

The government should realize that they have committed a crime against the poor health sector of the Tuensang people. If the returnees were properly segregated then the available resources arranged by the district administration of Tuensang would not have gone wasted.

When the returnees were dispatched to Tuensang, they were not given even lunch, but all thanks to the people of Wokha and Ao Senden that they provided the returnees refreshment on the way. The people of Tuensang will cherish the goodwill towards us as they endangered themselves selflessly.

As per protocol, contact tracing of Tuensang HQ by COVID positive returnee may be somehow possible. However, how do we expect contact tracing for people of Wokha and Mokokchung who sacrificed selflessly for the people of Tuensang? How do we expect the contact tracing to be possible for all the wayward bystanders who might have come in contact with the Tuensang returnees?

Not forgetting, the blatant sacrifice of fateful NST drivers’ lives, who while performing services for the government was forced to be exposed to the infection due to some unwanted and avoidable decision of persons in power corridor.

Due to lack of employment opportunities many people have gone to metro cities to work in some private companies. So many of them are unemployed now and is in desperate condition to come back home. There are huge number of returnees to Tuensang from Haryana, 27 persons which is highest as compared to any other districts has already reached Kohima and is expected to return to Tuensang shortly. More people are expected to come back home from the metro cities. Where will the people of Tuensang house all returnees with all the health safety protocols? 

The people of Tuensang should be ready to welcome all returnees and for that all available resources, all man power from Tuensang origin districts should be recalled to study the case and mitigate nicely. Manpower is the need of the hour. All machineries should be activated. People of Tuensang should rise up to the occasion and fight for justice.

All the tribal bodies should recall back all the willing government officers and manpower of Tuensang from Kohima and Dimapur and discuss to work out strategies and to tackle the ever knocking and ever ready human ticking bomb which is about to explode. The people of Tuensang have just some handful officers posted in Kohima and Dimapur. And some of the officers will be most willing to give psychological, physical and logistic support to the people of Tuensang by their presents in the district. The people of Tuensang will be doomed if proper planning and strategies are not worked out at this very crucial time.

The government has promised to set up a BSL-2 Lab on the eve of 27th May, but we never know how long it will take to set it up and get it functional. It’s been more than a month; even the promised BSL-2 Lab of Dimapur is not ready. We need professional technicians to operate such labs. 

Since there is a presence of one positive COVID case with additional 168 suspects of COVID exposed returnees in Tuensang, unless tested negative again, it will be wise on the part of the government to set a BSL-3 Lab in Tuensang. Let it not be just an empty promise by the GON to cover up the blunder. In order to save the people of Tuensang, the government and the people of Tuensang must work together; pull in all the possible resources in order to contain this virus. Let humanity win over human errors.

B.R. Chang, St. John Sector - A, Tuensang Town


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