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Madhya Pradesh: Special wards in 5 govt hospitals to deal with surging black fungus cases

CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan talks to Union minister for drug supply as shortage reported

Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan | PTI Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan | PTI

Even as cases of post-COVID-19 complication mucormycosis—commonly referred to as 'black fungus' infection—surges in Madhya Pradesh, the state government has decided to set up special wards in five government medical college hospitals to deal with the situation.

Such wards have already been set up in Hamidia Hospital in Bhopal and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Medical College Hospital in Jabalpur with these two cities reporting the early rush of cases. Now, wards will also come up at the medical college hospitals in Indore, Gwalior and Rewa, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said on Saturday.

The chief minister also held a virtual conference with a group of experts including the director general of Research and Information System in Developing Countries Prof. Sachin Chaturvedi and senior consultant with NITI Ayog, Dr Madan Gopal on Saturday to discuss the issue.

Madhya Pradesh, like various parts of the country, has reported a slew of black fungus cases during the past week. According to government sources, 132 cases have been reported statewide, though other sources put the count at much higher. In Bhopal alone, 34 patients are currently admitted to the Hamidia Hospital, way above the special ward capacity of 20. 

Even as the cases surged, the state government has announced that patients will be treated free of cost. However, shortage of anti-fungal drugs is already being felt with the injections like Amphotericin going missing from the open market.

The chief minister wrote a letter and also spoke over the phone to the Union minister of state for chemicals and fertilisers Mansukh Mandaviya for early supply of the required drugs.

Chouhan said that black fungus infection was one of the post-COVID-19 challenges along with the cases of heart attack/cardiac arrest among the recovered patients. He said that the government is trying to chart out a way to deal with this with expert opinion. 

He said that the district crisis management committees have been asked to ensure that there is no black-marketing of drugs and injections used for treatment of black fungus infection.

Meanwhile, Congress Rajya Sabha member Digvijaya Singh wrote to the chief minister expressing apprehension about black-marketing of these drugs in the backdrop of earlier cases of black-marketing of Remdesivir and other life saving drugs in the state. He urged the CM to ensure easy and quick availability of the drugs to the patients in various hospitals.

The chief minister said that preparations are being made to deal with the predicted third wave of the pandemic that is likely to impact children more. Special paediatric wards will be set up on various government hospitals in preparation, he said.

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