In such a situation, law enforcement should be empowered, not the other way round
The Health Ministry’s latest directive to make it mandatory for law enforcement agencies to take prior approval before conducting raids at hospitals comes at a time when we, in fact, need higher levels of regulation in the health sector.
With the number of confirmed coronavirus cases continuing to surge in the country -- over 250,000 cases and close to 3,500 deaths -- our hospitals have become the most important battleground in our fight against the spread of the disease.
As such, it has become of the utmost importance that our hospitals are kept to the highest of standards in this regard, so that they have the resources required and provide the necessary quality of service to the people to ensure that testing is done well, that treatment is being provided, and to maintain the overall safety of the nation.
However, as we have found out, unfortunately, corrupt practices have become widespread in the wake of the pandemic, with fake tests, certificates, PPEs, and sanitizers making the rounds, putting the lives of millions of people at risk and negating all the work the government and the people of this country have put towards controlling the pandemic.
In such a situation, law enforcement should be empowered, not the other way round. If these raids require permission before being conducted, it leaves more room and time for corrupt hospital officials to cover up their act, thereby protecting them behind bureaucratic red tape.
This directive from the Health Ministry flies in the face of our fight against corruption, not to mention the fact that specific ministries cannot dictate law enforcement’s behaviour based on their whims.
Such a move, if implemented, will only allow for corruption to strengthen in these trying times. Law enforcement should be allowed to carry out their duties without favour against anyone who flouts the law, including hospitals who are endangering the health of the public.