Doctors' forum begins statewide study on post-Covid complications
The Doctors for Social Justice (DSJ), a forum of healthcare professionals, in association with Pattithara grama panchayat and Thrithala Together, a local collective, has commenced the study.
Despite the Covid pandemic having blown over in intensity, millions around the world are still in the grip of post-disease complications, struggling to regain good health. There seem to be no firm solutions so far in sight to deal with these complications, which have taken a severe toll on the quality of life of patients. With an aim to study post-Covid issues prevalent in Kerala, a group of doctors from across the state have joined hands with the help of panchayats to understand and analyse the cases in detail.
The study will be first conducted at Thrithala in Palakkad district. The Doctors for Social Justice (DSJ), a forum of healthcare professionals, in association with Pattithara grama panchayat and Thrithala Together, a local collective, has commenced the study in the region.
Data collection would be done with the help of Asha workers and junior health inspectors (JHI)s. Expert doctors are scheduled to give them awareness classes and conduct webinars regarding post-Covid complications in multiple fields including respiratory, pediatrics, mental health and pulmonary issues. The webinars are aimed at teaching this personnel to identify post-Covid issues in patients. After these sessions, the Asha workers and JHIs would visit houses, collecting details from Covid-recovered patients.
“A majority of people in Pattithara panchayat have post-Covid complications. So far, the state government has not taken any measures to study in depth the issues which seriously affect Covid-recovered patients. We have taken a first step. The study is targeted to be completed in six months,” said Dr Jayasoorya P G, state general secretary, DSJ.
“We have chalked out a plan for six months and started work in June. Without adequate ground work and support, we will not be able to gather all details that are required for meaningful results. Questionnaires are being sent out to the people. Multiple camps are planned to be set up for evaluation. Without the local help from the panchayat, it would be difficult to conduct the studies,” said Dr Jayasoorya.
Post-Covid complications are a major public health issue the state is facing today. Most patients do not recognise the symptoms for what they are and fail to receive early medical intervention and treatment. "Roughly speaking, one in five persons suffers from post-Covid issues. Most cases of post-Covid are mild, but a small percentage of patients develop significant issues, including lung fibrosis in which the patient would require oxygen support. The death rate among post-Covid patients, when compared to those who had never contracted Covid, is also high,” said Dr P S Shajahan, pulmonologist and president of the Academy of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine.
"The effort commenced by the doctors is a huge step. Once the study is completed and submitted to the government, they would be able to take adequate measures to address the issues," said Dr Shajahan.