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Meghalaya HC directs govt to submit report on number of people denied medical help during pandemic

In her petition, Kharshiing argued that several would-be mothers or mothers with infants-in-arms or neo-natals requiring urgent medical attention were turned away from Government hospitals or health-care centre's during the pandemic.

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Shillong: The Meghalaya High Court has directed the state government to compile a “comprehensive report, backed by figures” on the number of people denied medical assistance during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Hearing a PIL filed by women’s rights activist Agnes Kharshiing, a division bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice, Wanlura Diengdoh, directed the State government time to submit the report before the court by March 31.

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In her petition, Kharshiing argued that several would-be mothers or mothers with infants-in-arms or neo-natals requiring urgent medical attention were turned away from Government hospitals or health-care centre’s during the pandemic.

“It is submitted on behalf of the State that the figures relied upon by the petitioner have been obtained pursuant to information relayed by the State under the Right to Information Act, 2005,” the bench said.

However the figures may not be accurate, the state government said in its counter argument. The State government has suggested during the initial period of the pandemic between the end of March and July, 2020,” it was the fear of the pandemic that may have prevented most people from stepping out and seeking medical assistance. In her petition, Kharshiing argued that several would-be mothers or mothers with infants-in-arms or neo-natals requiring urgent medical attention were turned away from Government hospitals or health-care centre’s during the pandemic.

” However, the bench observed that no data has been provided by the state government to substantiate its claims on the availability of hospital beds for delivery cases and the like during the relevant period.

” The State should get back with a comprehensive report, backed by figures, when the matter appears next on March 31, 2022,” the order said adding, “some form of package for those cases where lives may have been lost” due to want of medical facilities can also be considered. 

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