Even as the Odisha Government is emphasising one and all to follow the laid out COVID norms to stay safe from the virus, it seems, the carelessness of its own Health department will put the lives of many at risk.
An incident of high negligence and callousness of the healthcare workers has come to the fore in Krushnaprasad Block of Puri district where a health worker was seen carrying COVID swab samples of patients on a passenger boat. A box containing the samples was taken on regular passenger boat with several passengers onboard.
As per reports, the State Health Department had earlier engaged a special boat for carrying patients and medical accessories from Krushnaprasad block during the pandemic period as boats are the only means of transport in the area.
The Health department had hired the private boat exclusively for ensuring safety and convenience of the health workers in transporting medicines, medical accessories as well as patients. The boat used to ferry from Satpada to Janhikuda on which health workers in Chilika Nuapada under Krushnaprasad Block used to carry out the necessary works.
Moreover, the special boat was properly cleaned and sanitised every time before the health workers boarded on it. However, the boat was disengaged from the duty sometime back. This has left the health workers use passenger boats.
However, the transportation of COVID swab samples on a normal passenger boat has the callousness of the health workers as it has put the lives of many people at risk who travel on the same boat.
The health worker who carried the sample box on the boat said, "I am instructed by them (officials) to carry the samples to Satapada. The special boat was disengaged and we were instructed to carry the swab test samples and other things on normal boats from the ghat. Though I am aware that it is not safe to carry those samples along with other passengers, I have no other option as I have been instructed to do so," the worker added.
Meanwhile, Health Department official at Krushnaprasad healthcare centre couldn't be contacted for reaction over the issue.
"We are even scared to sit near a person without a mask. Under those circumstances, it is frightening for us to travel along with the COVID swab sample box on the same boat. As per the government directions to keep everyone safe from Corona, the health department can take steps and make special arrangements for transporting the box. It is a matter of great concern," said a passenger on the boat.