CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu Health Department has, with the Indian Medical Association (IMA) constituted a committee to develop guidelines for the management of care of aged persons and persons with comorbid conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The department has also formed 11 sub-committees to monitor patients with various comorbidities on a micro-level.
A health department Government Order dated May 15 noted that from past experiences it has been seen that aged persons, and persons with comorbid conditions including diabetes and hypertension are more vulnerable to COVID-19.
The committee was formed with an aim to protect this vulnerable populace and to chart out detailed micro plans for COVID-19 prevention, treatment and post-recovery care.
The plan to protect these vulnerable patients included forming WhatsApp groups to monitor, follow up and provide them support. A disease registry was to be maintained and aggressive intensive treatment is to be provided.
The patients should be closely monitored at the field-level by the village health nurse, community health nurse and medical block officer. A diet specific to each of these patient groups is to be prescribed.
The Indian system of medicine is to be integrated into the treatment plan. COVID specific measures such as masking, sanitizing and hand washing must be intensified among these groups and tele counseling services are to be provided. Information education and communication activities are also to be intensified for all these groups and reputed NGOs should be roped in, the GO said.
Along with the committee constituted for management of persons with co-morbidities during COVID-19, 11 sub-committees were also formed, including committee for dialysis and renal transplantation patients, committee for cancer and chemotherapy radiotherapy, committee for diabetic patients, committee for hypertension patients, committee for cardiology, committee for maternal health, committee for child health committee to maintain mental health and committee for tuberculosis and bronchial asthma.
The first meeting of the main committee was held at the DMS campus in Chennai on Monday and was chaired by Health Secretary Beela Rajesh.
"The expert committee will give its recommendations, both from the public and private sides, to be followed to protect these vulnerable groups. In the first meeting, it was agreed that all emergencies can be attended, but elective and other open surgeries can be avoided. Also, at hospitals attenders over the age of 50 will not be allowed," said Dr N Raja, President, Indian Medical Association, Tamil Nadu branch.