Access affordable help for post-Covid health issues

He said severe post-Covid issues like diabetes and hypertension are a reality, while some develop fibroids in the lungs.
Access affordable help for post-Covid health issues

KOCHI: Sreelakshmi, a 35-year-old public relations professional based in Kochi, had been experiencing breathing difficulties post-Covid. She was guided to a post-Covid clinic that was part of a luxury hospital by one of her colleagues who underwent treatment there.

Prior to the treatment, the colleague had to undergo various health check-ups, all deemed mandatory by the clinic, at regular intervals.

“Already, the patient is drained out of health and money after battling Covid. Now, clinics offering post-Covid treatment are mushrooming in the state,” said Sreelakshmi.

“When people in your neighbourhood scare you and insist that you go for such treatment, you are forced to do it, even if it is not necessary all the time. But one cannot bear the peer pressure. Many hospitals and laboratories are now coming up with new post-Covid treatment packages,” said Sreelakshmi, who finally chose to approach a government hospital.

Dr Krishnakumar P M, assistant surgeon in the directorate of health services, said institutions offering post-Covid treatment, especially laboratories and clinics, have become a business.

“Though there have been fewer complications in the third wave than the first two waves, more campaigning for post-Covid treatment is being held now,” he says.

He said severe post-Covid issues like diabetes and hypertension are a reality, while some develop fibroids in the lungs.

“Considering the complications, post-Covid clinics are a necessity and all primary health centres and government hospitals are offering this support. However, people are not aware of these facilities and end up spending huge amounts of money in private laboratories and clinics,” the doctor said.

For those who do not prefer allopathy, there are government hospitals in Ayurveda and homoeopathic sectors. In the Ernakulam district alone, 105 organisations are offering post-Covid treatment facilities (14 hospitals and other dispensaries). All the districts are offering such treatments for patients for free, irrespective of their income, said Dr Sonia, district medical officer (Ayurveda) in Ernakulam. Besides, there is a project titled ‘Punarjani’ in all hospitals, especially for post-Covid care.

“Those facing post-Covid issues can explain their difficulties and get treatment and medicines for free from those centres. Ayurvedic treatment has been found to be very effective for fatigue, respiratory complaints and joint pain. If hospitalisation is required, people can avail that depending on the severity of their condition,” said Dr Sonia

Similar treatments are offered in homoeopathy too. All homoeopathy hospitals in the district have set up a separate clinic for post-Covid treatment and the number of cases crossed 550 in the Ernakulam alone, said DMO Dr Leenarani. “Most patients complain of cough, fatigue, psychological issues and loss of memory. There is already a clinic for lifestyle diseases - Ayushman Bhava. Those coming to the lifestyle disease clinics might need follow-up check-ups and further treatment,” she said.

Post-Covid issues are real

Many doctors say post-Covid issues and symptoms are real and require treatment. However, the various clinics mushrooming in the state offering costly treatment are not accessible to a majority of patiens. They treat the service as a business, complain many petients. Government hospitals in the state offer free treatment for post-Covid symptoms.

Government hospitals in ayurveda and homoeopathic sectors are also offering free post-Covid treatents. Project ‘Punarjani’ in all hospitals focusing on post-Covid care

Psychological issues

Along with physical ailments, many Covid survivors face severe psychological and psychiatric issues after recovery. To address their concerns, psychiatry departments in all government medical colleges are giving post-Covid counselling and mental health treatment offline, said Dr Arun B Nair, psychiatrist, Government Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram. The District Mental Health Programme (DMHP) is organising online counselling for Covid and post-Covid patients in all the 14 districts.“Accessibility to mental health services is a very important component for future. Right from the start, DMHP has been providing these services.

Psychiatrists themselves speak to the patients and provide them with emotional support and if they are already taking some treatment, their services are adjusted and if further treatment is needed, they are advised to contact a helpline. Already, over one lakh patients have reached out to us through this programme. The only shortcoming is not all hospitals have psychiatrists. In future, we have to be prepared to face a mental health crisis after the pandemic,” said Dr Arun.

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