Please take the vaccine, Indian doctor pleads with JamaicansTuesday, August 03, 2021
BY KIMBERLEY HIBBERT
AN Indian medical doctor who has his practice in St Mary is making an impassioned plea to Jamaicans to make use of the opportunity to get the COVID-19 vaccine as 300,000 more doses have become available to anyone over the age of 18.
Dr Nagendra Babu Chandolu, popularly known as Dr Babu and who is originally from Andhra Pradesh, south India, has been in Jamaica for the last nine years and has been serving St Mary for the last seven.
In making the call, Dr Chandolu shared the reality of his homeland India with the Jamaica Observer. He said the situation is so grave that not even the rich can pay for bed space if they need hospitalisation.
“In India they are still struggling but one problem is the density of the population. We are fighting, the Government is trying its best, but we are in community transmission so it's difficult. A lot of people I know, we have lost them. A lot of people don't have money and a lot of people, even if they have money, they are not getting the care. Even if they have money there is no bed space. Even with the bed space they are not sure they are going to come back,” he told the Observer.
Dr Chandolu further pointed out that for these reasons he can appreciate the lockdown process, even when others don't see the benefit.
“If that [lockdown] is not there and everybody gets it... resources are here but in a pandemic it means if everybody needs a bed, then the resources that are here won't work. In a male ward we might have 25 beds and in a female ward another 25, so 50 for people capacity. How much population we have? Maybe we have in total 5,000 or 10,000 bed spaces, but with an almost three-million population we have to do better. We have to learn from countries already suffering. It's not a joke thing. Those are the lessons we have to learn and Jamaica is really blessed that things aren't worse,” Dr Chandolu said.
“Right now America is suffering; some areas in China are suffering. Vaccination won't prevent you from getting COVID, it prevents you from going into hospital, getting severe illness, and it prevents death,” he said.
Meanwhile, Dr Chandolu also lauded the Government's move to allow the importation of Ivermectin and said even though it is not approved by the World Health Organization (WHO), it is worth a try.
“In India Ivermectin is being used for almost one year now. We have seen cases in India, especially where they have started giving from the babe. People are paying up to US$900 for one and you need about six. They don't know if it's working or not; they're giving it the benefit of the doubt. No studies prove that the people who got Ivermectin survive, but still we have to try. In India that is the first drug they are using now. We are trying our best to save lives across the world,” he said.
Last week, Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton said while importation of the drug is now allowed it will not be used in the public health sector, and he maintained that there is not enough information to recommend the drug for treating COVID-19.
Dr Tufton, however, said doctors and patients can decide how they choose to use it.
Ivermectin is a broad-spectrum, anti-parasitic agent included in the WHO's essential medicines list for several parasitic diseases. It is used in the treatment of onchocerciasis (river blindness), strongyloidiasis and other diseases caused by soil-transmitted helminthiasis. It is also used to treat scabies.
Edenbridge Pharmaceuticals in New Jersey will supply the drug and LASCO pharmaceuticals will distribute it locally.
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