Shillong: In a bid to protect its health workers from exposure to and infection with COVID-19, the North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences (NEIGRIHMS) is seeking Rs 10,000 from COVID-19 patients belonging to non below poverty line (BPL) families to keep away their attendants in this government-run hospital here in Meghalaya.
“This was done to protect the staff from exposure from the virus. We have 125 health care workers from the institute who are currently positive or are under quarantine. It has so happened that even some of the attendants of a non-COVID patient admitted in ICUs tested positive,” NEIGRIHMS Director, Dr. Prithwis Bhattacharya said.
He said that the institute has issued the order a couple of days back to protect its staff as attendants of non BPL patients pose health risks for its staff.
“Non BPL patients have to pay for the medicines and consumables even before the order. This led to attendants of such patients moving into the wards and ICUs frequently to deposit the medicines and consumables,” the Director informed.
Stating that attendants have tested positive during their visit in the hospital, Dr. Bhattacharya said, “Since the attendants move around they are at risk if they frequent the hospital premises so it was decided that an upfront amount would be taken so that medicines and consumables would be procured.”
“Some of the drugs like Remdesivir and other consumables in the ICU are expensive and need to be procured from outside the hospital. Moreover, the institute has a short supply of some of these drugs which are reserved for the BPL families,” he said.
“Every item that is procured by the health staff instead of the attendants is matched with the receipt when the patient is discharged from the hospital and if some amount needs to be reimbursed it’s done so,” he said.
Dr Bhatacharya said the institute has received about 50 vials of Remdesivir which has been kept aside for BPL families. Moreover, he said the institute has sought about 300 vials of Remdesivir from the Central government which would be arriving in the institute soon.