Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
Abhinash Pradhan of Nuagaon village under Satpada block in Puri district was hospitalized for severe cold and fever on August 13. As swine flu is being reported from various parts of the State, his swab was sent for examination to Regional Medical Research Center (RMRC). It was found that he was not afflicted with the virus. But, when discharged from the hospital after cure of the fever, his villagers did not accept him for about three days lest his presence spreads the disease.
This is an instance of fear psychosis over swine flu as the State Government has failed to generate confidence in its approach to the disease.
The functionaries including the Health Minister are claiming that there is no necessity of taking preventives. But every top official including the Ministers and the Chief Minister has taken preventive doses in their offices in presence of their respective staff without bothering for how psychologically it might be affecting them, when they were not privileged to be administered with preventives due to paucity of its supply. Government has been spreading through Television channels that youngsters below 18 and elders beyond 56 should not take swine flu preventives and others must obtain approval of the doctors before taking a preventive dose because the same is dangerous if taken sans determination of medical fitness. This is generating mass confusion besides reducing confidence in the available preventives.
Till date swine flu has taken a toll of nine lives even as 162 have been hospitalized. Out of them, 58 have tested positive and 25 have been discharged cured from the hospitals.
The RMRC is the organization that tests the swabs. Samples from all over Orissa come to its lab at Bhubaneswar and its report guides the treatment. But the reports are not dependable, as there is neither any microbiologist nor virologist under the RMRC who could be really relied upon in locating the deadly virus. Its Director S. K. Kar belongs to the area of Parasitology whereas other scientists are in the areas of Entomology, Anthropology (Medical), Immunology, Internal Medicine, Zoology and Paediatrics. But it has no Microbiologist, no Virologist. Hence it has no scientist specially qualified in matters of viruses specifically of swine flu.
In the circumstances, its reports on swine flu swabs are stage-managed and people are thus left to the mercy of their fates.
The government is perniciously playing with the lives of the people by shifting the responsibility of swab testing to RMRC even though there is no qualified scientist in that establishment to correctly test the swabs and locate the virus.
Life is definitely not safe in the hands of the incumbent Government.