Leading through a crisis with resilience

The first few weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic for the Health department was marked by endless meetings which ran late into the night. The fact that it was a new infectious disease and research was just launched into it threw many challenges at the medical fraternity and senior officials of the department.

As COVID patients and suspects were admitted only to State government hospitals, there was heavy focus on the state of the health facilities, their infrastructure and medical services provided. A few patients uploaded videos to highlight conditions that needed improvement while healthcare workers (HCWs) went beyond the call of duty to care for patients abandoned by their families. Amid all this, officials had to plan treatment protocols and bolster infrastructure.

Since there were multiple issues to deal with, Health Minister Eatala Rajender shifted his office to the State Health campus in Koti to coordinate closely with officials.

Director of Medical Education K. Ramesh Reddy said, as a medical professional, it was his first tryst with a pandemic and that all efforts were made to improve infrastructure as well as strength of doctors, nurses and patient care providers as the number of patients started swelling. Early detection and treatment has helped control the virus spread and save thousands of lives, he added.

The Directorate of Public Health (DPH) headed by G. Srinivasa Rao dealt with COVID testing and contact tracing. When people were hesitant to step outside of their homes, DPH staff went around collecting swab samples, and visiting suspects and patients in home isolation to collect details of their contacts.

Over 30 HCWs from the DPH and DME wing died of COVID while hundreds of others battled and recovered from the infection.

Dr Srinivasa Rao and his colleagues used to attend video conferences with the Union Health Ministry where changes in testing strategies, contact tracing and other crucial aspects were discussed which had to be communicated to the ground-level staff.

To pull off the work, the staff had to work relentlessly. However, their workload has not lessened as the DPH is involved in administering COVID vaccine to HCWs and frontline workers, senior citizens and people in the 45-59 year age group with co-morbidities. Along with that, they have to keep a close watch on any possible surge in COVID cases.

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Printable version | Apr 16, 2021 12:58:38 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/leading-through-a-crisis-with-resilience/article33974515.ece

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