In Arunachal district, needy can ‘borrow’ medical equipment, bought using Covid fine money

On Friday, the East Siang district administration announced the setting up of ‘Covid Care Banks'. The equipment can be taken free of cost and returned once the patients test negative.

A district in Arunachal Pradesh has used fines collected for Covid-protocol violations – a sum of over Rs 3 lakh — to create a common bank of resources to deal with the infection.

On Friday, the East Siang district administration announced the setting up of ‘COVID Care Banks’ — which will have medical equipment for the needy to borrow.

“The banks will have an oxygen concentrator, thermometers, pulse oximeters and masks for those who are in home isolation in rural areas, but are unable to afford the equipment,” said Dr Kinny Singh, DC, East Siang district.

She added that the equipment can be taken free of cost, and returned once the patients test negative. This is specifically meant for asymptomatic or mild cases, among the needy sections of the society.

Since April, when the second wave of the pandemic started, the East Siang administration collected Rs 3.4 lakh in fine from those who had violated Covid-appropriate behaviour rules. “Most violations are related to masking. There are some curfew violations as well. It is through this money that we have bought the equipment,” she said.

Singh said the idea was conceived because the second wave saw a lot of remote rural areas getting affected by Covid. “In the villages, people would report to community health centres saying they have fever, but some did not even own a thermometer to check their temperature,” she said, “That is why we thought the banks would be a good idea, and generate goodwill in the rural areas.”

Each circle has a bank that currently has 70 digital thermometers and 45 oximeters. “We will be increasing that. We have also been able to get oxygen concentrators from Vision IAS, a coaching institute for civil service aspirants,” she said.

East Siang currently has 152 active cases. Singh said over 90 percent of the 45+ age group has been given the first dose of the vaccine.

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