KOCHI: Providing relief to the health department, which was having a hard time procuring enough Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits, the district administration on Monday launched the Walk-In Sample Kiosk (WISK) to keep health workers safe while taking samples from Covid suspects. The first of its kind in the country, WISK was designed by a team led by Dr Ganesh Mohan, resident medical officer, Kalamassery Medical College Hospital.
District Collector S Suhas said similar technology was used in South Korea for mass sample collection. It takes less than two minutes to collect blood and swab samples.“WISK will help collect samples from a large number of Covid suspects within a short amount of time. Also, there will be no direct contact between the health worker and the suspect while collecting the samples. Installing a WISK costs nearly Rs 40,000,” he said.WISK is a small cabin-like structure with a glass wall with two rubber gloves sticking out of it on one side and an opening on the other.
The person, whose sample is to be collected, is seated outside the glass wall, following which the health worker inserts their hands into the rubber gloves and collects the swab and blood samples. The rubber gloves and cabin are disinfected after each collection. “Currently, we have two WISKs that will be put to use at Kalamassery Medical College Hospital. If required, more WISKs can be developed under short notice,” he said.T K Shajahan, health standing committee member of Alangad block panchayat, provided the financial assistance required to develop WISK.
“One of the major expenses in detecting and treating Covid is procuring PPE kits. During the sample collection, health workers have to wear PPE kits, which cannot be reused. PPE kits are very expensive and could lead to a shortage in case of a sudden spike in number of patients. 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,” said Shajahan.