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The Telugu Desam Party’s (TDP) Medical Cell on Thursday demanded financial assistance for the next of kin of people who died of COVID-19 across the State.
“Dependants of all eligible persons, who had died of COVID-19, should be paid ex gratia. Administrative confusion is depriving many dependants of compensation payable by the government,” Dr. Suresh Somayajula, president of the TDP Medical Cell, said.
Addressing a press meet on Thursday, Dr. Suresh said that apart from all those who have diedat a hospital or home while undergoing treatment for COVID-19, and were issued a death certificate mentioning the cause of death as COVID-19, even those who had tested positive for COVID-19 and subsequently died within 30 days of being issued the RT-PCR report should also be paid ex gratia.
He sought that the government give clear instructions to authorities that the following should be considered as proof of ‘diagnosis of COVID’: RT-PCR report, CT scan, which mentions ground glass appearance, molecular tests, D-dimer test, CRP and ESR along with medical bills of the medicines used, which would validate COVID-19 and when a registered medical practitioner gives in writing, on his letterhead, that the deceased was under his/her treatment for COVID-19.
This was necessary as many people who have lost their dear ones to COVID-19 were still beingdeprived ofgovernment help due to administrative confusion.
Dr. Suresh said that during the deadly second wave, availability of RT-PCR tests was not widespread and many hospitals and physicians had started treatment based on CT scan, D-dimer and CRP, based on the clinical presentation of the patient.
“In many cases due to non-availability of hospitals beds, doctors asked patients to isolate themselves at their homes and offered ‘tele-medicine service’. The government had also extended this service. Such families would not be in a position to bring proof of their family member having died of COVID. Therefore, any of the above should be considered as proof and help should be extended on humanitarian grounds as directed by the Supreme Court,” he said.
Dr. Suresh addedthat the Centre had announced that it had already released ₹895.20 crore to Andhra Pradesh as its share to the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) for 2021-22 on December 2, 2021. Only 50% of this fund was allowed to be used for COVID-19 preparedness. He wondered where the remaining funds were utilised.
Only 14,471 deaths were officially attributed to COVID-19 in A.P., but in spite of the low awareness of this scheme, almost 36,205 people had applied, while only 11,464 had been given the ex-gratia. The number of deaths due to COVID-19 was believed to be much higher than what was reported, and inclusion of the above mentioned clauses would help more families, he added.