MP Raju Bista wrote to the Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee urging to make treatment of mucormycosis, commonly known as black fungus cases, free in the state. As of now, North Bengal has recorded 6 deaths due to the illness.
In the letter, MP Bista drew the CM's attention to the high cost of treatment associated with the black fungus cases. In his letter, he urged the CM to consider the following facts:
• So far 6 people in North Bengal have died due to Black Fungus in North Bengal Medical College alone, and there are many more suspected cases all over the state.
• According to the doctors I have spoken to, most of the cases of black fungus have these issues in common - diabetes, prolonged hospital stay, unhygienic environment and indiscriminate use of antibiotics and steroids.
• During the first COVID wave, there was a standard of care and practice put in place, as number of COVID treatment centres were regulated and thus strictly monitored.
• However, currently there are no such restrictions, and monitoring of the level and type of care being imparted to COVID patients is not being done.
• This has apparently caused, rampant abuse and indiscriminate use of antibiotics and steroids.
• Given, that the government run healthcare facilities in North Bengal is already in shambles, people are rushing to get treatment wherever they can afford. There is no monitoring of the treatment they are getting, nor any checks and balances, set in place to ensure that proper treatment protocol is followed.
• I fear that this situation is prevalent not just in North Bengal, but also all over West Bengal.
• In addition, the daily costs of medicine AMPHOB which is used for treatment of Black Fungus cases is almost Rs 10,000 per dose and the total duration of treatment is 4 to 6 weeks. This treatment is to be followed by oral Posaconazole, which costs around Rs 6,000 per strip of 10 tablets, and requires 12 to 16 weeks treatment. This requires the patient to incur a cost of more than Rs 3 lakhs for treatment.
The MP requested CM Mamata Banerjee to make the treatment of black fungus cases free in the state, so that the patients who are already financially weakened due to the high cost of COVID treatment can be provided with proper healthcare and lives can be saved.
"Since the Union Government has made the Vaccine for all, and because Ayushman Bharat has not been implemented in the state and Swasthya Saathi scheme is non-functional, the least WB Govt can do is provide free treatment for Black Fungus cases in both the private and government hospitals," Bista stated.
He further requested the CM to implement the following suggestions at the earliest.
1. Kindly make treatment of Black Fungus cases free, so that the patients who are already financially weakened due to the high cost of COVID treatment can be provided with proper healthcare and lives can be saved.
2. Implement strict COVID and Black Fungus treatment protocols for all government and private hospitals in the state, so that abuse or misuse of antibiotics and steroids are avoided.
3. Develop astrict monitoring and reporting system on the level and type of care given by all health care providers-both government and private
4. Develop a system of checks and balances, including surprises checks and physical verification to ensure that the treatment protocols for COVID and other diseases developed by experts in the state are being strictly followed.
5. Since Ayushman Bharat scheme is not implemented in West Bengal and Swasthya Saathi scheme is also not functional making the treatment of Black Fungus cases Free in both the private and government hospitals will help save families from financial ruin.