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Coronavirus | Odisha training veterinarians to man testing labs

A municipality worker sprays chemicals on the road to sterilise in Bhubaneswar. File

A municipality worker sprays chemicals on the road to sterilise in Bhubaneswar. File

As Odisha’s graph of people testing positive for COVID-19 is sharply rising, the State government has been ramping up trained manpower to tackle the pandemic — the latest addition is the engagement of a large group of veterinarians.

Although involving veterinarians in critical clinical functions at peak of this pandemic sounds strange, top healthcare functionaries see no contradiction.

Trained on par

“Veterinarians handling microbiology, virology and biotechnology in veterinary science are at par with scientists managing laboratories for humans. Pathogens of human and animals are having not much difference. Moreover, the source of coronavirus is not human, but animal,” said Dr. Jayant Panda, a critical care physician and State’s nodal officer on training.

“A crash course has been prepared for microbiologists and virologists working under veterinary department. They are being trained on pathology of COVID-19. This will help us in man management in laboratories when the pandemic situation would worsen,” said Dr. Panda.

When veterinary scientists are adept at colleting swab from different animals, there is no reason why they cannot take swab and blood samples from humans, he asserted.

ICMR model

As many as 97 veterinary experts have undergone training conducted by Dr. Panda and specialists from Regional Medical Research Centre, an ICMR institute.

Stating that the capacity building is a continuous process, Dr. Panda said, “We have already trained 1.5 lakh people including doctors, medical students, nurses and pathologists and made them ready to tackle COVID-19 pandemic in the State.”

Besides, members of NGOs, students, Scout and Guide cadets, sanitation workers and other support staff have been trained as to how to conduct themselves during the emerging crisis and save themselves from infections.

“We are preparing for a scenario when more than 50,000 people will be infected and we would require proportionate number of manpower to serve them,” he said.

According to Director of Medical Education and Training, C.B.K. Mohanty, the State government has also been proactively preparing technical manpower to face the crisis.

“We have a sizeable number of government doctors. Besides, private health institutions have been requested to keep their doctors on alert so that they can join the workforce at short notice. The government had also put out an advertisement inviting private and retired health professionals to enroll for COVID-19 response,” said Mr. Mohanty.

In view of the evolving health crisis, the State government has so far readied 34 exclusive COVID-19 hospitals with total bed capacity of 5,493. There are 296 intensive care units in those hospitals while 15 testing laboratories have been created for sample testing.

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Printable version | May 22, 2022 10:21:53 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/coronavirus-odisha-training-veterinarians-to-man-testing-labs/article31482464.ece