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Making Koderma Self-Sufficient

Deputy Commissioner of Koderma Ramesh Gholap has proved that it is not impossible to fight this crisis. With limited resources, he made the district self- sufficient in oxygen supported beds and many other facilities.

India is going through a medical crisis due to the second wave of Covid-19. While Lakhs of people are tested positive with the virus, tens of thousands have lost their lives. Questions have been arising on the government and administration for not being ready with the basic medical facilities like oxygen and oxygen supported beds. In these tough times, some officers are showing us the way to handle this crisis and end the suffering of people. 

The Deputy Collector of Koderma in Jharkhand Mr. Ramesh Gholap is one of them. He took his lessons from the first wave of Covid-19, worked on making the situation better and today the district is almost self-sufficient in the fight against this deadly virus. 

Mr. Ramesh Gholap with his wife

In a conversation with Indian Masterminds, Mr. Gholap shared how his district came out with 160 oxygen supported beds from just seven beds last year. Around 50 beds are supported through O2 Pipelines. Besides that, his efforts also helped in bringing down the positivity rate from 22.47 % to 5%.

Starting a 25-bed hospital in just five hours

Koderma shares the border with two districts of Bihar: Nawada and Gaya. Besides, it also connects the road going from Patna to Ranchi. It is the main reason for a large number of migrants’ population in the region which goes to the big city for the job. The district also have a Railway Junction which is used by people of nearby areas in Bihar for commuting. So, in case of curfew or lockdown a large number of people come to the district and then move towards their abode. Last year around 40 thousand migrant people were screened in the district. This is a big reason for the high positive rates of Covid-19 here compared to other districts in the state. While the positivity rates are high, Koderma lacks in the health facility. There are very few private hospitals and the government hospitals are over-burdened. 

An overwhelming moment for the officer as an elderly person showed his gratitude after being treated

Talking about it, Mr Gholap said, “Last year we only had 20 B-type (10-litres) oxygen cylinders which could be used for seven beds only. We also reserved 20 oxygen supported beds in the private hospital. We got through the crisis with this little resource as the challenges were different last year. Thankfully we were prepared in the last one year. Till March 2021, we arranged 320 jumbo cylinders (50 litres) in addition with 100 more B-type cylinders as well by roping in some industries.’’

However, merely arranging cylinders was not enough. Proper arrangements of beds with oxygen facility and ventilators were also required. The district administration reserved 50% of oxygen beds in the private hospital this year, reaching to 29 beds. This was surely not enough but the officer was determined to not lack behind in providing oxygen beds. 

Firstly, a college building was turned into a Covid health center with more than 60 beds including the oxygen support. 

Since, the number of patients were increasing, Mr Gholap assumed that this much won’t be enough. So, he visited a vacant private hospital and within five hours 25 beds facility with six oxygen supported beds was started there immediately. On the next day a total of 20 beds were converted with O2 supported facility. He repeated the same with anotherprivate hospital which was closed after the doctors tested there tested positive. 

Covid hospital in the district 

Mr. Gholap said that there are 81 posts for doctors in his district, while only 33 have been appointed. Since the start of the crisis it was clear that the district lacked in several resources, including man-power. “But this was not the time to crib about the disadvantages. We had to do more in less”, he added. 

The oxygen supported beds in the hospital

Donning the mantle of a leader in crisis, Mr Gholap’s efforts led to an education department building being turned into Covid Hospital. It has 250 beds including 110 oxygen supported beds and 6 ventilators. The “hospital’’ is equipped with all sorts of facilities including the sample collection & testing and was inaugurated by the state Chief Minister Mr. Hemant Soren. 

Awareness Campaign and help for the families

Due to lack of knowledge and ignorance, most covid patient often reached hospital when their situation become worse. Kodarma is no different.The DM recorded messages to aware the people about the need for early testing and vaccination. Through eight vehicles, his message reached out to every village in the district. This is the reason why Koderma also stood amongst the top three in test per million people. The average of testing in district was even higher than the country! 

The District administration also ensured distribution of medical kits with help of CHCs and ANM to the +ve patients and people showing symptoms of Covid 19. Mr Gholap has again started the food bank like last year for the people who have lost their jobs. He said, “This is a tough time for everybody and due to lockdown the marginalised community is one the verge of starvation. Food is the basic necessity and we don’t want a single person to struggle for that. With this thought we started the food bank to feed the poor.” The officer is also determined to provide maximum benefits of government programs to the people who have lost their loved ones in this crisis. He is also hopeful for starting a PSA plant in the next month.

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