Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
When on July 7, in presence of Panchayati Raj and Law Minister Mr. Arun Kumar Sahoo and Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare, Employment, Technical Education and Training Minister Mr. Sanjay Kumar Das Burma, the Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Information and Public Relations Mr. Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak told me on his own accord, in his Secretariat chamber, that, the issue I had raised has been ordered to be implemented immediately, I was very happy and was sure, Orissa shall be saved from a great disaster.
But I had no idea that his Secretary – a non-Oriya IAS officer – would sabotage him and continue infecting people of Orissa with AIDS through unsafe blood supplied by Red Cross Blood Banks without proper screening.
I had stumbled upon a case of AIDS caused to a 3 year old boy in 2012.
He was a victim of blood transfusion on operation table.
The blood he was given was infected with HIV.
He was a native of a village of Baramba adjoining my birthplace Tigiria. His father had given me the details of how the misfortune engulfed him and had requested me to take such steps that no child should be such a victim of medial mismanagement. His sobs and tears are still alive in my heart.
I investigated into it and found that in 2011 the Orissa High Court, on awarding a cash punishment to the State to the tune of Rs.3 lakhs, had directed that the Orissa Government must immediately adopt NAT method of blood screening as the prevailing method of ELISA was not competent enough to detect HIV in its “window Period”. The Government was sleeping over it.
I exposed the malady repeatedly with updated input. It attracted attention of Sri Prasad Harichandan, then the Opposition Chief Whip, who moved an adjournment motion on the topic. On September 1, 2012, the then health Minister Dr. Damodar Raut answered the motion with an emphatic YES to the NAT method and announced to adopt the method in all Blood Banks “in phased manner”, which would start with four major Blood Banks serving the 3 Government Medical Colleges and the Capital Hospital.
He could not see his announcement implemented because the health secretary and a few mandarins were interested in continuance of the ELISA method.
I continued to expose the apathy of administration in this particular matter, as a big population of transfusion dependent patients were sure to be affected by the dreaded virus. Taking the cue, almost all newspapers of Orissa used their spaces time and again in this mission; but the mandarins did not buzz.
After election 2014, the portfolio of Health came to the hands of the young dynamic Minister Atanu Sabyasach Nayak.
I raised the issue before him, cries of the unfortunate man of Baramba still vibrating in my heart.
He took two days to study the matter and sent the following “Note” (No.23, Dt.19.9.2014) to the Secretary:
“This is regarding implementation of NAT screening method for blood in four centres catering to 6 major blood banks of the State.
The Hon’ble High Court in 2011 on one PIL case filed before it had passed an order for earliest implementation of NAT. The then Hon’ble Minister, Health and F.W., Odisha had assured on the floor of the House for implementation of NAT in phased manner while answering an adjournment motion in the subject on 01,09,2012. A Technical Committee constituted by the Government had visited two States i.e. Karnatak and Uttarpradesh and inspected various centres where NAT was implemented and had given their report.
I am told, the SBTC was directed to go ahead for implementation of the project. The major procedure involving Financial and Technical formalities are also over. The Technical Expert Committee has also given its views on the Request of Proposal received.
It is a matter of concern, why the important decision to implement the direction of Hon’ble High Court has not been operationalized till date.
A detail report in this regard is to be called for at the earliest. A meeting in this regard may also be convened at your level as early as possible to expedite the process.
One year has passed away since then. Implementation is hanging under many pretenses.
This is a classic instance of how incompetent or ill-motivated mandarins in the Secretariat have been playing tricks upon the political Government.
It is an instance of how a non-Oriya IAS officer has continuously kept the Minister in dark, while pushing at least two Oriyas into AIDS everyday by forcing unsafe blood upon them.
Yesterday, the Chief Minister addressed a workshop of his party in matter of Jivan Sindhu, a project of BJD to make the party appear concerned for the people. It transpired from his speech that since commencement of this project six months ago, its collection of blood has reached 37,232 units.
Medico-scientific surveys have established, and the High Level Technical Committee held under the chairmanship of the Health Secretary on 17.10.2014 had held that, “NAT yield (ELISA Negative & NAT positives) is around 500: 1” which means, NAT method detects one case in every 500 units as HIV positive and ELISA detects none.
All the blood units in Orissa are being screened in ELISA method. This prompts us to suspect that out of the 37,232 units of blood collected and supplied by BJD during this six months under the banner of Jivan Sindhu under guidance of the Chief Minister, AIDS causing viruses have been pumped into at least 76 unsuspecting patients.
This is a very serious situation.
Jivan Sindhu is a political program of the ruling party aimed at appearing pro-people as it is increasingly being viewed as a server of avaricious industries at the cost of indigenous population. The CM wants that, before the next election, its blood collection should exceed 5 lakh units.Vote bank politics can go to any extent.
If NAT is not immediately implemented, the said 5 lakh units would be forcing at least 1,000 Oriyas into AIDS by way of blood transfusion.
Health Minister Atanu babu should immediately wake up as the concerned Minister and foil the foul game of the non-Oriya IAS officer, who, as Commissioner-cum-Secretary has been presiding over the horrific delay in implementation of the already approved program, is playing; or if he is unable to administer his Secretary, the attention of this Chief Minister should immediately be drawn into this malicious conduct of the mandarins.
Human life is more precious than the lady IAS officer, whose negligence and incompetency is pushing unsuspecting Oriya patients into the pernicious grip of HIV.
Any further delay must not be allowed.