Will Covid third wave affect kids more? States asked to focus on health infra for paediatric care

The instructions were issued during a review meeting of the preparations under “India Covid-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness Package: Phase II” with states.

Published: 15th July 2021 07:36 PM  |   Last Updated: 15th July 2021 07:36 PM   |  A+A-

File photo of people taking their kids to the paediatrician at the Specialist Evening Clinic in Azampura | Vinay Madapu

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Amid the fear of the third Covid wave, the Union Health Ministry on Thursday asked the states to keep a sharp focus on health infrastructure developments, oxygen supply and ensure adequate beds for paediatric care in hospitals.

The instructions were issued during a review meeting of the preparations under “India Covid-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness Package: Phase II” with states, approved for July 2021 to March 2022 by PM Narendra Modi on July 8 with an estimated fund of Rs 23, 123 crore.

In the meeting, the Union government also asked states to conduct a quick gap analysis for various infrastructure components.

The final year MBBS students, interns and PG residents may be utilised under the supervision of the faculty as per the National Medical Commission guidelines for providing services of mild Covid management through teleconsultation, the Centre told states.

Similarly, final year nursing graduates have been recommended to be utilised for full-time Covid nursing duties at government facilities under the supervision of senior faculty.

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It was also pointed out that procurement of drugs for effective management is an essential component and that this guidance can be tweaked to local needs while states must come up with their own assessments based on stocks and costs involved.

Phase-II of the Emergency Covid-19 Response Package has central sector and centrally sponsored schemes components and the scheme aims at accelerating the health system preparedness for immediate responsiveness for early prevention, detection and management with a sharp focus on health infrastructure development including paediatric care and with measurable outcomes.

This will help in strengthening decentralised public health actions and public health facilities in rural, peri-urban and tribal areas, the government has said.

A statement from the health ministry said that the stakeholders were guided on policies and guidelines on the aspects of Covid management which would help them in strengthening their healthcare infrastructure to streamline response.

“Stakeholders have been asked to send their expenditure proposals at the earliest to enable expeditious approval and sanction from the Central government,’’ the ministry said.

In the review meeting, the Centre reiterated the need to establish dedicated paediatric care units in all 736 districts of the country for responding to the needs of Paediatric Covid-19 management and also increase the availability of ICU beds including 20% paediatric ICU beds as per evolving needs.

In addition, states will be supported to have 1050 liquid medical oxygen storage tanks along with a medical gas pipeline system, at least one per District, to augment the availability of medical oxygen in the public healthcare system.

The stress is on also strengthening the teleconsultation platform to provide up to 5 lakhs teleconsultation services per day, duly augmenting the availability of spokes and hubs.


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