U.T. begins post-COVID survey among recovered patients

Keeping track: Healthcare workers segregating a sample collected using a Rapid Screening Test kit in Puducherry.   | Photo Credit: T. Singaravelou

The Union Territory has launched a post-COVID survey among recovered patients to identify those with after-effects that would require medical or psychological intervention.

Teams of ANMs and ASHA workers are engaged in door-to-door visits of patients, who recovered from the COVID-19 infection and were discharged, to assess their general health status.

The recovered patients are asked to fill in a 17-point questionnaire that elicits details ranging from intensity of coronavirus on a scale of mild to moderate to severe, institution of hospitalisation and duration of stay to a checklist of symptoms — fever, fatigue, anxiety, breathlessness, joint pain, headache, loss of taste/smell, chest pain, blurring of vision or any other discomfort.

The survey will also check for their co-morbidities, whether there was any instance of visiting the doctor for illness or any investigation/medicines were adopted for post-COVID issues.

“The survey will provide us some insights into COVID-19 sequel to guide a long-term follow-up or treatment programme,” said T. Arun, Health Secretary. “The initial survey is being undertaken by ASHA workers and ANMs and based on the data, we will make available specialist services of doctors and nurses, from medical to psychological counselling, to those who require it. If needed, they will be referred to an institution,” Mr. Arun said.

The plan is to set up a secondary-level network of post-COVID clinics in hospitals, PHCs and focus centres as part of providing a continuum of care, extending well beyond recovery and discharge from an institution.

“The survey is half-way through in regions such as Mahe and Yanam though in Puducherry, it could take more time as the cumulative number is higher and increasing by the day here,” said S. Mohan Kumar, Health Director.

The Union Territory, with a recovery rate averaging 85% in recent weeks, has an aggregate of over 30,000 recovered patients.

As of Wednesday, there were 30,307 recovered patients in the Union Territory. Puducherry had 24,653 recovered patients, Karaikal 3,116, Yanam 1,796 and Mahe 742.

Long-term monitoring

“It is remarkable that so far there has not been a single post-COVID death, especially among the subset of recovered patients with co-morbidity. A long-term monitoring will help prevent post-COVID casualties,” said Mr. Arun.

Officials expect the post-COVID survey to be completed in the Union Territory in the next 10 days.

Health Minister Malladi Krishna Rao said that based on the consolidation of feedback, a treatment plan would be framed for the subset of patients who still suffer from any long-term problem after recovery.

Mr. Rao said preliminary results of surveys showed that a significant proportion of recovered patients in the range of about 5% were carrying some medical problem even months after discharge.

“We have asked the teams to complete the survey for the entire Union Territory by this week,” he said.

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Printable version | Dec 5, 2020 6:17:50 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/ut-begins-post-covid-survey-among-recovered-patients/article32968618.ece

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