Goa IMA expresses concern over deaths at Covid facility

The Goa chapter of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) on Wednesday expressed concern over the increasing number of deaths at the state’s only designated Covid hospital, citing non-availability of specialists at the centre as one of the possible reasons for the spate of recent deaths.

State IMA President S. Samuel also urged the Goa government to relocate the Covid facility to the precincts of the state’s top medial facility — the Goa Medical College — for better care of symptomatic patients.

“IMA Goa is extremely concerned about the rising number of deaths. We feel that non-availability of senior experts and non-availability of investigations like CT scan, MRI scan are major factors,” a statement issued by the association said on Wednesday.

More than 60 persons have died after testing positive for Covid-19 in Goa ever since the pandemic broke out in March this year. Most of the fatalities have occurred at the Employees State Insurance hospital in South Goa’s Margao town, which has been designated as a Covid facility, the state’s only such facility.

According to the state Health Ministry protocol, while symptomatic patients are treated at the ESI hospital, asymptomatic patients are admitted to the several Covid Care Centres in Goa or are allowed to home quarantine themselves.

The IMA has also urged the Goa government to change its protocol and discontinue the practice of admitting symptomatic patients to the ESI hospital.

“We feel the government must seriously think of starting a 250-bed Covid hospital block at the Goa Medical College itself. It will help in good management logistically, and there will no split in workforce also, which is extremely important in these times when there is scarcity of experts,” Samuel said.

“The ESI hospital can be converted into a Covid Care Centre with oxygen facilities, which will admit patients with moderate symptoms and comorbidities who will be managed by MBBS doctors under the health services,” the state IMA President said.

The IMA also expressed sadness at the abrupt transfer of the head of the designated Covid-19 facility, Ira Almeida, earlier this week.

“We believe that her efforts require greater appreciation. We feel she should be reinstated immediately or should be posted in such a position that she could be helpful to the government in this times of crisis with her immense experience,” the statement said.

Goa, which was Covid-free in May, now has more than 7,000 confirmed Covid-19 cases, out of which 1,901 are active.