This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Submitted anonymously. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

How Bihar’s Doctors Paid The Price For This ‘Blunder’ Made By The Govt

More from Submitted anonymously

This post is a part of YKA’s dedicated coverage of the novel coronavirus outbreak and aims to present factual, reliable information. Read more.
Health Worker
Representational image.

Recently, the news came out from Bhagalpur, Bihar, that the interns at Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College and Hospital are complaining that they are not provided with protective equipment to deal with patients of COVID-19. However, Principal Dr Hemant Kumar has said that the administration is trying to do all they can.

Here’s what the interns have said:

We, the interns of Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College and Hospital, Bhagalpur, bring to your attention some serious blunders being done by the Bihar government, regarding the handling of COVID-19 pandemic. We hope you would become our voice as nobody is ready to listen to us and our lives are at stake.

If this infection is transmitted to even one of the interns, it will eventually pass on to all the hostels and further to patients who are not infected. Despite this fact and proper safety guidelines on paper, nothing is being done on the ground. We are already admitting 8–9 suspects already each day at our own health risk, but the administration wants us to continue without protection.

A Covid-19 positive patient’s family was sent home yesterday and asked to self-isolate. Now, due to the lack of education, people are refusing to self-isolate. There are no measures in place to trace these patients and to ensure that they are staying at home. The police, too, is doing nothing to punish those who are violating the lockdown, let aside the quarantined patients.

The number of testing kits available in Bihar is inadequate. Doctors are using disposable HIV protection gears to examine patients in Patna. They don’t even have sanitizers or spirits. They are buying their own masks and gloves.

The doctors of Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, Bhagalpur, were denied N95 masks and PPEs in Emergency duties by Dr RC Mandal who later forced the interns to work amidst the same conditions. When the interns denied, he threatened to terminate their internship or extend the duration of their internship.

Frequently, they are coming in contact with at least 8–10 suspected COVID patients. Annexed is the a) demand application by the interns b) notice issued by the Superintendent, JLNMCH and the guidelines issued by MOH and FW that it violates:

Upon request of van/bus for female interns amidst the lockdown since the hostels are far away, the Superintendent denied saying he can’t provide us with the same.

Here’s what Dr Hemnat Kumar, Principle, Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College and Hospital, said on the whole matter:

“The students are afraid due to Corona. The ICMR guidelines do not say that interns need N-95 kit. However, the administration has ordered N-95 masks.”

When we spoke to another representative, he told us that the hospital is asymptomatic, i.e., no one has a cough or symptoms like that and claimed that the current equipment is adequate for the situation.

As per the news, just 9 positive cases are there in Bihar so far. The truth is that the numbers are much more. But due to the lack of screening and contact tracing, we aren’t able to identify the numbers.

The patient who died was from Munger. He had a travel history to Qatar. The doctors examined him anyway, but his COVID-19 reports arrived after his death. If this act of ignoring safety protocols continues, we would be left with no doctors to examine additional patients once we reach stage 3 of the pandemic.

As many as 83 junior doctors of the NMCH in Patna, which has been designated as the State’s first COVID-19 special hospital, have written to their superintendent seeking a 15-day home quarantine. Image source: The Hindu

There are only three hospitals in Patna that are dealing with these cases. AIIMS, IGIMS, PMCH. However, these hospitals don’t have the resources to deal with coronavirus patients. The doctors don’t have proper protective gears. People are being denied treatment. Doctors are examining patients risking their own lives and also becoming a potential source for community transmission.

NMCH recently emptied its ward to become a COVID-19 hospital; yet, no protective gears are available there too. About 83 doctors are quarantined from NMCH, Patna—because they dealt with suspected cases without protective equipment.

The whole state relies on only one testing centre that is Rajendra Memorial Research Institute, Patna, for the sample testing that creates a delay in diagnosis and treatment further. At the end, we request the government to please do something for Bihar. We do not wish this pandemic to wipe out the state.

More News On Coronavirus

Here’s How We Can Ensure That Social Distancing Doesn’t Affect Our Mental Health

What Are Some Common Myths And Questions Around The Coronavirus Outbreak?

Things Cancer Patients Should Know About Coronavirus

Viruses Don’t Discriminate: Are India’s Covid-19 Measures Disabled-Friendly?

Featured image credit: Getty Images/Image for representational purpose only.
You must be to comment.

More from Submitted anonymously

Similar Posts

By Shruti Shila Saikia

By Ieshaan Mohan

By Abha Khetarpal

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below