Politicians prefer private hospitals for COVID-19 treatment; Why not government facilities?

Sruthi Vibhavari

Hyderabad: August began on a somber note for Indian politicians, with as many as seven top-tier politicians testing positive for COVID-19. Union Home Minister Amit Shah is the most popular of the lot. On Sunday August 2, he tested positive and was admitted into Gurgaon’s Medanta Hospital.

On the same day, Uttar Pradesh’s Technical Education Minister Kamla Rani Varun died two weeks after being hospitalized at the government-run Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences.

MS Education Academy

Not Shah alone

Amit Shah’s decision to seek treatment in a corporate hospital drew a lot of opposition. A team of doctors from All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) is also assigned to examine Shah at the Medanta Hospital.

However, many other politicians too followed a similar stride. Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan joined the Medanta hospital as well, after being tested COVID positive. Among others are Governors, Chief Ministers, Former Chief Ministers, state ministers, legislators and other politicians.

Tamil Nadu Governor Bhanwarilal Purohit got admitted to Kauvery Hospital in Chennai. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan and Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa to chose the private Chirayu Medical College, Bhopal and Manipal Hospital, Bengaluru respectively for treatment.

Delhi Health Minister Satyender Jain chose to get his plasma therapy done at the Max Hospital.

In Telangana, State Home Minister Mahmood Ali was admitted in Apollo Hospital, Jubliee Hills. MLAs Muthireddy Yadgiri Reddy, Mahipal Reddy, A Jeevan Reddy who were tested positive preferred to join city-based private hospitals. Across the border in Andhra Pradesh, Deputy CM Amzath Basha, who tested positive on 14 July, was admitted to the Continental Hospital in Hyderabad.

Poor facilities at the government hospitals

These cases only confirm what was already known – the sorry state of affairs of the public healthcare system. The politicians choosing private hospitals for treatment is only a reiteration of the fact that government hospitals are not as equipped as the private ones. State-run hospitals are being accused of lacking proper infrastructure such as including beds, ventilator facilities, sufficient staff, poor hygiene and missing patients among others.

The slew of criticism faced by the COVID-19 positive politicians, especially those in power, is not because they opted to get the best medical treatment at private hospitals. This shows their lack of trust in government hospitals, which are still used by millions of Indians who cannot afford private medical facilities.

The public healthcare system is in dire need of the state’s backing — both in terms of investment and attention. It certainly does not help the cause when the people in power who have the ability to strengthen it, choose to repose their faith in private hospitals.

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