Karnataka, CII to set up task force to fight Covid-19

Our Bureau Bengaluru | Updated on April 24, 2021

The Task Force will work on a master call centre for Covid patients.

In a first its kind initiative, the Government of Karnataka and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has decided to form a Task Force to collaborate on the fight against Covid-19.

A press statement from the CII on Saturday said the task force, which will have representatives from CII and the Karnataka Health Department will explore ways to quickly augment medical and non-medical infrastructure, including a massive call centre and modular ICU units, to manage Covid more effectively.

The representatives of CII had a video conference with Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar and other senior officials of the Health Department. Kris Gopalakrishnan, former CII president and Co-founder of Infosys, Vikram Kirloskar, former CII president and CMD of Kirloskar Systems, Cardiologist Dr Devi Shetty, CII Karnataka Chairman Ramesh Ramadurai were among those representing CII. The Task Force will help the State government on various aspects including technology, knowledge, sourcing of medicines and medical equipment, software applications among other things.

The Task Force will work on a master call centre for Covid patients. Currently, there are multiple helplines for Covid management and that is causing confusion among the public. This helpline is likely to act as a Master helpline for all aspects pertaining to Covid. The Task Force will work out modalities soon. The training for the call centre executives are likely to be done by medical professionals from Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences.

Health Minister Dr Sudhakar said that the State government is planning to set up Modular ICU units to address the rising demand for ICU beds. About 3,000-5,000 modular ICU beds are being planned in the State. The Task Force will also work with the Government on making these modular ICU units a reality. The Minister also urged the industry to channel their CSR funds for Covid related activities.

“Currently, 95 per cent of the Covid patients are in home isolation but they need to be monitored on a daily basis. Technology will play a big role in doing this,” he said. He also sought the help of CII to identify and procure Remdesivir and Tocilizumab injections from other countries. Dr Devi Shetty stressed the potential shortage of doctors very soon due to rising Covid cases. “Currently, all the headlines are on oxygen shortage. But, very soon, the headlines will focus on the shortage of doctors and nurses.”

He urged the Health Minister to work with the Union government to augment medical staff by roping in 2.2 lakh nursing students in the country who are waiting for their final exams. Similarly, there are about 1.3 lakh MBBS students preparing for NEET exams, which may not happen. The Government should deploy them in Covid management and incentivise them for this work through grace marks or quota or preference in government jobs.

Vikram Kirloskar urged the government to release official protocols for home isolated patients and hospitalised patients as there are too much of misinformation on the internet. Kris Gopalakrishnan urged the Government to look at importing of medicines and medical infrastructure in the short term to bridge the current gap.

Published on April 24, 2021

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