Andhra Pradesh

Plugging the gaps in paediatric care

With the possibility of a COVID-19 third wave later this year and the chances of at least 25% children getting affected, the State government is moving in quickly to plug the gaps in paediatric care in primary/secondary and tertiary healthcare facilities.

Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy has constituted a paediatric COVID task force, headed by Dr. B. Chandrasekhara Reddy, Chairman of the A.P. Medical and Infrastructure Development Corporation (APMIDC), with experienced paediatricians from both government and private hospitals.

The Chief Minister said that paediatric facilities would be set up in all primary healthcare centres, and announced the setting up of three paediatric super speciality hospitals at Visakhapatnam, Guntur-Vijayawada and Tirupati at a cost of ₹180 crore each.

But the predictions are a bit worrying. Senior paediatrician in Guntur and member of A.P. Paediatric COVID-19 Task Force T. Chandrasekhara Reddy says that while about 12% of children below 14 years were affected during the first wave, predictions that 25% of children could be affected during the third wave are a bit worrying.

Children vulnerable

With children between the ages of 5 and 14 still to get vaccinated, chances of them getting infected are more. While the predictions were based on data analytics models of the country, healthcare experts predict that 18 lakh people are likely to get affected during the third wave and 25% (4.5 lakh ) of them could be children.

“However, as was the case with COVID-19 in adults, about 90% of cases could be asymptomatic and about 10% (45,000) moderate to severe cases could require hospitalisation. Of these 45,000 cases, less than 2% spread over a period of 60 days could require Intensive Care Unit (ICU) facility across the State. We will also start training medical healthcare workers from the coming week,” he says.

Doctors are also wary of chances of children getting infected with Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome , where inflammation of different body parts occurs. It is a serious condition linked to COVID-19 and will require administration of Immunoglobulins.

“The government has started acting on our proposals and began scaling up infrastructure, recruiting doctors and nurses and more importantly, started a vaccination drive for mothers. It has also started stocking up on Immunoglobulins,” says Dr. Chandrasekhara Reddy.


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Printable version | Jul 29, 2021 6:54:24 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/plugging-the-gaps-in-paediatric-care/article34896702.ece

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