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Doctors welcome Health Ministry’s COVID treatment protocol for children

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Doctors while welcoming the latest Union Health Ministry’s treatment guidelines for COVID management in children, underlined the need to “create awareness to prevent misinterpretation which could prove counterproductive.”

The Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) in its comprehensive guidelines for the management of COVID-19 among children has said that Remdesivir is not recommended in this population.

The guidelines said Remdesivir is an emergency use authorisation drug and is not recommended in children. “There is lack of sufficient safety and efficacy data with respect to Remdesivir in children below 18 years of age,” the guidelines said.

The updated guidelines issued earlier this week also advocates for the rational use of HRCT imaging. The Ministry said any additional information gained from HRCT scan of the chest often has little impact on treatment decisions, which are based almost entirely on clinical severity and physiological impairment.

“Given the expected risk to kids in the third wave, we welcome DGHS for coming out with the all-important guideline for the management of COVID-19 in kids. However, awareness should be created so that the guideline is not misinterpreted, which would be counterproductive,” said Gauri Agarwal senior gynecologist, Yashoda Hospitals in Delhi-NCR.

She added that these guidelines clearly prohibit self-medication.

“Also we must understand the basics of wearing mask and hygiene. DGHS has said children below the age of 5 should not wear a mask. It does not mean that they are not at risk. Moreover, since they'll not be wearing a mask, it means that additional care and precautions to be taken by their guardians. Similarly, kids age 6-11 should be taught the correct use of mask and accordingly monitored by adults from time to time,” Dr. Agarwal said.

Rahul Nagpal, director- Pediatrics and Neonatology at Fortis Hospital Vasant Kunj said since the first COVID pandemic wave, doctors have been using the guidelines by the Indian Academy of Pediatrics, which discouraged the unnecessary use of steroids, anti-viral drugs and CT scan in children.

“We welcome the guidelines for the treatment of children infected with COVID-19. With this DGHS has standardised the treatment protocol of children affected with COVID-19 across country and debunked the myths around it,” Dr. Nagpal said.

Doctors also said while the guidelines are timely and will be useful in case there is an increase in the number of children getting infected, hospitals will have to ensure that there is enough standardised infrastructure to cater to this section of the society.

Sameer Punia, senior pediatrician, Akash Hospital said, “The 6-minute walk test, prescribed by DGHS, is a valid way to check for at-risk patients but we must also ensure that there are enough Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) capabilities in the surroundings to address the child's requirements should there be a need to admit them.”


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Printable version | Jul 30, 2021 10:39:14 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/doctors-welcome-indias-covid-treatment-protocol-for-children/article34776338.ece

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