Despite good heathcare infra, Kerala fears the worst

Our Bureau Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on April 29, 2021

Unique issues with rural-urban continuum

Kerala’s unique spatial formation with no clear urban-rural divide, due to which it emerges as almost a single urban unit with its high rural density and big villages, has created its own unique problems when it comes to dealing with the seamless transmission of the second wave of Covid-19.

Unlike in most other Sates, people do not converge on a single facility for treatment, with a strong healthcare infrastructure in place here. But the intensity of transmission is uniform everywhere and the backbone feels the pressure almost in real time. The administration is worried its acclaimed network could get overwhelmed by the second wave if it does not relent in intensity in the next two weeks or so.

Real-time status

According to the Indian Medical Association (IMA), there has to be a real-time assessment of availability of beds, ICU beds and oxygen beds across hospitals and which should be made available across the entire spectrum of healthcare administration. The IMD is developing software to manage and stream this information.

The current surge capacity of the health system seemed satisfactory but going by the mounting case graph, this could potentially prove not good enough in another two weeks, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told newspersons here on late on Wednesday evening.

While increasing the capacity and infrastructure in hospitals, shortage of human resources is emerging as major problem with few solutions at hand. The Chief Minister said that those on home quarantine must maintain contact with local health workers, councillors or ward members and keep their numbers in case of an emergency.

Four-hour updates

The Chief Minister had also said that the State government would devise a system which will give a district-wise update every four hours on the bed, ICU and oxygen position at every private and public hospital, which will be made available on a new portal.

This will help district authorities keep track of the utilisation and availability of hospital resources at the district-level. This data will be made available soon on the public domain as well. People can also contact the State health helpline 1056 for advice on whom to contact for assistance.

The District Programme Management Support Unit will set up call centres to provide information and assistance to people. The numbers of the district helplines would also be made available to public.

Revised guidelines

An expert committee advising the government will prepare revised guidelines on hospital admission, given the influx of new patients. Those getting infected after receiving at least one dose of the vaccine have been found to be generally safe and hence need not come to hospital for admission.

Those whose oxygenation status is satisfactory too can stay home if they do not have any other illnesses, and need merely follow the directions given by doctors, the Chief Minister said.

Published on April 29, 2021

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