Varanasi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday urged bringing medical services closer to COVID-19 patients, coming up with a new mantra –- Jahan bimaar, wahin upchaar –- at a video conference with doctors where he choked up while speaking of lives lost to the virus.
“Though the attack of the pandemic has been checked to an extent with the joint efforts of all, it is not the time to feel satisfied,” he told healthcare professionals and other frontline workers in his Varanasi constituency.
“We have to fight a long battle,” he added.
He said health services need to pay attention to the rural areas of Varanasi and Purvanchal and pitched his new ‘mantra’ of “treatment at the doorstep”.
“We shouldn’t forget – Jahan bimaar, wahin upchaar” (treatment where the patient is located).”
“If the treatment is taken to the sick, it will bring down the pressure on the health system,” Modi said. He talked about telemedicine and involving young and retired medical professionals in tackling the pandemic.
He lauded the efforts of doctors, nurses, technicians, ward boys and ambulance drivers. “But this pandemic is so big that despite all the efforts we have not been able to save the lives of our family members,” he added.
“This virus has snatched so many of our near ones,” Modi said, choking with emotion.
There was a long pause, before the prime minister continued, “I pay my respects to all these people and offer condolences to their near and dear ones,” he said.
Modi called for special efforts to save children from coronavirus. He also flagged mucormycosis or black fungus as a “new challenge”.
He said the fight was on many fronts in the second wave of the pandemic. The infection rate was high, the patients had to be hospitalised for longer and there was “extreme pressure” on the health system.
Stressing the importance of vaccination, he said frontline workers managed to serve without worry because of it. This “suraksha kavach” (shield) should reach everyone, he added.
Just as the fight against coronavirus has been a joint effort, the vaccination should also be a collective responsibility and everyone should take the vaccine when their turn comes, he said.
He said the work done in the health sector over the past seven years helped but under such extraordinary circumstances, the situation was brought under control because of the health workers who worked round the clock.
He said yoga was criticised and a communal colour was initially given to it when the government made efforts to help it get global recognition. But today Yoga has helped in the fight against coronavirus.
He said the battle is against an “unseen” and “changing” enemy.
Modi said Varanasi benefited from the strategy of having micro-containment zones. He also mentioned “Kashi Kavach” – a telemedicine initiative involving doctors, laboratories and private companies.
The PM said the arrangements made to deal with the second wave of coronavirus should be maintained even when the cases come down.
He expressed satisfaction that people’s representatives remained connected to the drive against the pandemic despite facing “naraazgi”, an indirect reference to hostile comments.
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