KOCHI: As the health services department is finding it hard to procure enough Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) kits, Kerala's Ernakulam district administration on Monday launched the Walk-in Sample Kiosk (WISK) to keep health workers safe while taking samples to test for COVID-19.
A first of its kind in India, the WISK was designed by a team under Dr. Ganesh Mohan, RMO of Kalamassery Medical College.
Launching the WISK on Monday, District Collector S Suhas said that similar technology was used in South Korea for mass sample collection. It takes less than two minutes for blood and swab sample collection.
"This will help us collect samples from a large number of people. There is no direct contact between the health worker and the person being tested while collecting the samples. It takes nearly Rs 40000 to set up a WISK," he said.
A WISK is a small cabin that is closed from four sides with one side having a glass wall with an opening. The person being tested is seated outside the glass wall through which two rubber gloves are attached outside. The health worker has to insert a hand in the rubber gloves and collect swab samples and blood samples from the patients. The rubber gloves and cabin is disinfected after each sample collection.
"Currently, we have two WISKs. They will be used at Kalamassery Medical College where COVID-19 patients are under treatment. If required, more WISKs can be developed at short notice," Suhas said.
T K Shajahan, Alangad Block Panchayat Health Standing Committee member, provided financial assistance to develop WISK.
"One of the major expenses in detecting and treating COVID-19 is procuring PPE kits. During the sample collection, the health workers have to wear PPE kits which cannot be reused. A PPE kit is very expensive and in case a high number of COVID-19 cases are detected, there will be a shortage of PPE kits in the state. The major benefit of WISK is that health workers do not need to wear PPE kits. We are ready to support such innovations in the future as well," Shajahan said.