Drawing attention to the grim COVID-19 situation in the State, Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala has urged the State government to clearly define hospital admission protocols, commandeer ICUs and ventilators to a common pool and ensure adequate medicine stocks.
Mr. Chennithala underlined the need to regulate COVID-19 treatment costs in private hospitals and ensure free treatment for BPL families.
The suggestions are part of a set which Mr. Chennithala has submitted to the State government for aiding the preparation of an action plan. Fourteen in all, they cover treatment, prevention, research and crisis management and were compiled after discussions with public health experts, professional bodies and other stakeholders, Mr. Chennithala said in a letter to Chief Secretary V.P. Joy.
In other States, the influential and rich with mild symptoms are getting admitted in hospitals, which denies hospitalisation to poor patients requiring critical care. “There is a need to define admission protocols, including a chain of referral systems, and institute a monitoring mechanism for effective implementation. All hospitals, including private ones, should follow the admission protocols issued by the government,” Mr. Chennithala said.
The government should anticipate a shortage of ICUs and ventilators in the near future and should take over all such facilities forming a common pool. Admissions should be made on defined protocols, which can be monitored by District Level Medical Boards, he said.
The government should take steps to address staff and bed shortage in healthcare institutions and regulate COVID-19 treatment costs in private hospitals. “No one should be denied admission because of financial reasons. The government has to chip in and ensure that even BPL families are given free treatment in private hospitals,” he said.
Mr. Chennithala has recommended maximising vaccine coverage and testing and stepping up awareness campaigns on COVID-19 guidelines. For tackling the crisis, local bodies should be adequately equipped and funded. Coordination among government departments should be effective, he said.
On the research side, Mr. Chennithala called for a public health research study for understanding the transmission dynamics of the virus, including that of genomic changes. “A separate study on the actual impact of the virus on the State-wide mortality also needs to be done,” he said.