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Central health experts assess J&K’s COVID preparedness

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Suggests home isolation, pulse oximeters to control mortalities in Kashmir

Srinagar : The health experts from central government, who were on visit to take stock of preparedness of Jammu and Kashmir towards combating the global pandemic of COVID-19, Thursday assessed the situation here by visiting different health facilities to guide the UT for improvement and assistance for further streamlining.

The experts including the Development Commissioner, Ministry of Textiles, GoI, Shantamanu; Dr RK Gupta, Sr. Physician Respiratory Medicine and Dr Tanzin Dikid, Joint Director NCDC, New Delhi were part of the visiting team also met Financial Commissioner Health & Medical Education, Atal Dulloo here today. Director Health Services Kashmir, Dr. Samir Matto along with other epidemiologists were present on the occasion, an official press release informed.

It said Dulloo told the team that to combat this viral disease, J&K has a total of 21664 isolation beds, 432 ICU beds, 454 ventilators and 5296 oxygen supported beds while some 342 ventilators are in transit and1630 oxygen outlets are to be installed in next two months.

He said that establishment of more oxygen generation plants in 29 districts and associated hospitals are in pipeline for which Rs 150 crore have already been allocated by the UT government.

Dulloo  also informed that 170226 PPE kits, 222345 N-95 masks, 13,94,439 triple layer masks, 91,808 sanitizers, 2,90,340 VTM, 2,60,372 RNA extraction kits and 1,45,000 Rapid Antigen (Point of Care) Test are available with the Health department.

Appreciating the response of the J&K government against the COVID 19 pandemic, the visiting experts suggested that the home isolation facility and providing pulse oximeters would be a game-changer in controlling the mortalities in Kashmir Division and recommended to get it implemented throughout the UT. The team also recommended that a micro-level containment or red zones to be declared for better implications besides suggesting few changes in treatment protocol and home isolation protocols.

Some other actionable points recommended by the review team included  improvement in Infection Prevention Control (IPC) Mechanism, starting of regular/routine health services in hospitals to prevent surge in morbidity and mortality due to non-COVID cases in near future, constitution of hospital based treatment guidelines committee for COVID management by including all senior consultants from departments,  constitution of environment control committee in tertiary-care institutions to suggest proper protocol for airflow and air exhaust from the isolation ICUs or wards.

They also suggested that death review committee for COVID should be constituted in all the hospitals, and recommended that the patient should report to health institution after fall of oxygen saturation from 95 percent instead of 90 percent.

They also called for training of manpower for ventilator management as already a good number of ventilators are available here.

According to the official press release, Dulloo assured the visiting delegation that all these measures would be applied in letter and spirit. He extended his gratitude to the team for giving suggestions that would go a long way in helping J&K to successfully tide over this global crisis.

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