Agartala: Amid a surge in COVID-19 cases in Tripura, the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) has demanded more doctors and medical equipment in the areas falling under its jurisdiction.

Speaking with reporters, Tipraha Indigenous Progressive Regional Alliance (TIPRA) chairman Pradyot Kishore Deb Barman said that the district council is facing an acute shortage of medical equipment and medical staff.

He, however, said that the community health centre (CHC) at the ADC area will get an oxygen plant from the state government and 71 oxygen concentrators with the help of a Delhi-based organisation.

“When the oxygen crisis was going on, I got in touch with Bhairavi Jani, SPCO in Delhi, and she helped us in contacting Swastha Digital Health Foundation and ACT grants,” Deb Barman said.

“A total of 71 oxygen concentrators worth Rs 70-75 lakh have been sanctioned for the ADC hospital to fight the virus. When most of the deaths are taking place in absence of oxygen, these oxygen concentrators will help the hospital provide better service,” Deb Barman added.

He also said that the executive members had approached the chief minister to demand an oxygen plant which was accepted by the state government. Work for setting up of the plant will begin shortly, he added.

“We do not have any X-ray or CT scan machines in the ADC hospital which is essential to identify the COVID-19 infection and related ailments. We have asked the state government to provide the machines. If they do not arrange, we will arrange funds ourselves and procure the machines,” Deb Barman said.

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In an oblique reference to the government’s decision to build a new medical college in ADC area, he said, “We are building a new medical college, but we have failed to build a separate toilet for women. We have infrastructure but we do not have doctors and equipment,” he said.

Kamal Kalai, executive member for health department, said that a delegation of the executive members had met chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb and placed the demand for setting up of an oxygen plant in the Kherangbar community health centre in the ADC headquarters.

“We have placed several demands including the upgrade of the CHC hospital in ADC to first referral unit (FRU) and three other health centres across the district council to provide better health services,” Kalai said.

He also said that immediate steps from the state government will help in dealing with the pandemic in the ADC areas.

Animesh Debbarma, executive member for industries and agriculture, said that spot registration for those above 18 years should be allowed in order to ensure hassle-free vaccination of COVID-19 doses.

He also said that the new council has plans to approach doctors from outside and visit the ADC hospital to provide service.

Dr Partha Debbarma, principal officer for health department, ADC, said that the CHC was started in 1997 but it has been facing shortage of several facilities ever since.

“At present, the hospital has nine doctors and 11 nurses, but the number of patients is more than the capacity,” Debbarma added.

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