NEW DELHI: Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan Wednesday cautioned people against indiscriminate and excessive use of steroids saying COVID-19 complications are being seen across the country due to breach of treatment protocols.
Vardhan, who inspected a newly-installed oxygen plant and the construction progress of new COVID blocks at Safdarjung Hospital this morning said that people are taking heavy doses of steroids even when they have not turned hypoxic, a health ministry statement said.
"Steroids are to be provided only when a patient is hypoxic, to be administered in small doses to prevent side effects and not more than a few days at a stretch. Recommendations of a doctor are must for the use of these medicines," he said.
These steps should take care of the occurrence of the higher number of Mucormycosis infections being reported country-wide, he hoped.
He also requested doctors to stick to ICMR guidelines while treating COVID patients.
The health minister reviewed the COVID preparedness of the hospital during a meeting held with its doctors.
He reviewed the functioning of the Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) oxygen plant facility which has been established in a record time.
This is the third plant to be installed at the central government hospital in New Delhi after Dr RML Hospital and Lady Hardinge Medical College, the statement said.
The plant with a capacity of nearly 1 MT has been built by DRDO with assistance from the PM-CARES fund.
This will supplement the hospital's efforts in providing medical oxygen to the COVID affected patient.
"Safdarjung Hospital will soon be equipped with another plant of 2 MT capacity, which further enhancing this capacity.
Similarly, 1051 plants are in the process of being established with the help of DRDO, CSIR and HITEC all over the country," Vardhan was quoted as saying in the statement.
He also visited the under construction new COVID-19 Block, being built with the help of CSIR-Central Building Research Institute (CSIR-CBRI), Roorkee and examined the progress work.
He instructed the team to complete this block at earliest, the statement said.
Speaking to the media, Vardhan talked about the trend of declining COVID cases in recent days.
He informed about the 3,89,851 recoveries in the last 24 hours; new cases in the last 24 hours have been at 2,67,334; while the recoveries outnumber the new cases by more than 1 lakhs.
The daily recoveries have now outnumbered the new cases for the 6th consecutive day now which has contributed to the reduction of active caseload, the statement said.
He also pointed out about the active cases being 32,26,719 as of today.
Vardhan appealed to the citizens for their contribution in bringing down the COVID cases: "Wearing of masks, following hand hygiene and social distancing between individuals; all COVID Appropriate Behaviour when followed in discipline will help check COVID."
He also asked people to be in their homes and venture out only when absolutely necessary.
Vardhan remembered the well-known faces of the medical community who have lost their lives to COVID in recent days and said, "Dr K K Aggarwal, past President of IMA had contributed to popularization of health education among the masses. Dr. Sekhar Agarwal, Orthopedician treated thousands of patients, Dr. Pankaj Bhatnager also helped many cancer patients get better and we have lost them to COVID."
He also remembered the countless COVID warriors who have died in the line of duty.
In this regard, he also spoke about the sacrifice of the media community who have lost notable personalities like Sunil Jain, Shri Sesh Narayan Singh and Rohit Sardana.