New Delhi: As India recorded over 2.73 lakh new Covid-19 cases and 1,619 deaths Monday and the second wave has intensified the demand for Covid-19 ICU beds, oxygen supplies and Covid management drugs in the country, a new survey found that 55 per cent of Indians who got a Covid-19 ICU bed needed clout or connections to get it.
Released on Tuesday, the LocalCircles survey also found that only 13 per cent of those who required Covid-19 management drugs, such as tocilizumab and remdesivir, were able to get it through the hospital while others had to resort to clout/connections, overpayment and bribes.
The survey was conducted across 309 districts in the country and received over 17,000 responses, of which 68 per cent of respondents were men and 32 per cent were women. Around 49 per cent of the respondents were from tier 1 cities, 28 per cent from tier 2 cities and 23 per cent respondents were from tier 3, 4 and rural districts.
‘Connections’ needed to get ICU beds
The survey concluded that only 13 per cent of those who needed a Covid-19 ICU bed were able to get it through the routine process via hospital while 55 per cent had to resort to “connections and clout” to get one.
From 8,645 responses received through the social media platform, 42 per cent respondents said they had to use clout or connections to secure the ICU bed, 24 per cent said they had to follow up extensively to secure the ICU bed, 3 per cent said they had to escalate via social media or complain to the government to secure the ICU bed while 13 per cent of them said they had to do all of the above to secure the bed. Only 5 per cent of the respondents said they did not get an ICU bed in the past 45 days.
Only 13% Indians got Covid management drugs from hospital
Similarly, when asked about their experience or the experience of people in their social network in sourcing Covid-19 management drugs, such as remdesivir and tocilizumab, 28 per cent said they had to resort to using clout or connections to get them.
Of the 8,943 respondents, 7 per cent said they got it from the market by overpaying, 4 per cent said they ended up bribing hospital officials to secure them while 20 per cent said they could not get it at all — 28 per cent of the respondents could not reveal what they did to secure the vials while only 13 per cent said the hospital arranged it through the actual routine process.
The survey noted that despite these drugs being supplied by manufacturers to the hospitals, directly, many hospitals still do not have the drug and are instead asking patients to secure them if they can. This has resulted in hoarding, real and artificial shortages, and rampant black-marketing.
With the Covid-19 crisis worsening in India, the survey remarked that it is vital that both central and state governments put all their effort into increasing the availability of Covid-19 ICU beds and the supply of Covid-19 management drugs to hospitals.