MUMBAI: Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday stressed on the role of private doctors, specially family physicians, in the fight against COVID-19, saying they can help in early diagnosis of the infection in their patients and facilitate timely treatment for them.
Addressing around 700 private doctors from across the state during a meeting held via video conference, Thackeray appealed to them to join hands with the state administration to curb spread of the viral infection.
Thackeray said if family physicians keep a check on the treatment of their patients in home isolation and update ward officers regularly, the civic body concerned can make arrangements for their further treatment in a proper way.
"Family doctors play an important role. If they guide the patients at the initial stage of the infection, it will be helpful to curb the virus spread. They can identify symptoms and check whether a patient is asymptomatic or needs hospitalisation," he said.
The CM said family doctors should focus on patients in home isolation so that if required, they can be shifted to hospitals timely.
He appealed to private doctors to register themselves with the COVID-19 care centres and jumbo field hospitals in their localities and visit the facilities for consultation. It is necessary to have uniformity in the treatment protocol, he added.
Thackeray also said the state's oxygen production capacity is 1,270 metric tonne, but due to the surge in COVID-19 cases, thedemand has risen to 1,700 MT.
"We have prepared short and long-term plans to become self-sufficient in oxygen and the enhanced production capacity of the life-saving gas will be realised soon," he said.
During the meeting, the state government's task force of medical experts, comprising Sanjay Oak, Shashank Joshi, Rahul Pandit, Tatyarao Lahane and others, informed private medical practitioners about COVID-19 treatment protocols.
They told the doctors about use of steroids, importance of six-minute walk test, how to identify the need for giving oxygen, identifying reduction in oxygen level, treatment of mucormycosis-a fungal infection detected in COVID-19 survivors, use of key anti-viral drug Remdesivir and taking care of patients on ventilators.
Thackeray said a paediatric task force is also being set up by the state government as experts are of the view that the third wave of COVID-19 could affect children.
Around 700 private doctors participated the virtual meeting on Sunday, while 300 doctors had attended a meeting held some days back via video conference with Thackeray and the task force members, a statement issued by the Chief Minister's Office said.