The Health Ministry on Thursday stressed the need to ramp-up COVID testing, tracking, treating and isolating strategy and has directed State governments to scale-up bed strength including for paediatric care and makeshift hospitals in sub-district levels.
The Ministry reviewed the preparations under the recently approved ₹23,123-crore “India COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness Package: Phase II” with Health Secretaries and senior officials of all States/Union Territories through a video conference.
“In the meeting stakeholders were also asked to ensure availability of critical drugs, testing kits and PPEs besides enhancing oxygen availability and strengthening home and village/community isolation centres/ COVID care centres,” said the Ministry.
Quick gap analysis
It said the States and the Union Territories were advised to conduct a quick gap analysis for various infrastructure components.
“The final year MBBS students, UG Interns and PG residents may be utilised under the supervision of the faculty as per the National Medical Commission Guidelines for providing services of mild COVID management through tele-consultation and similarly, final year nursing graduates (BSc and GNM) may be utilised for full-time COVID nursing duties at government facilities under the supervision of senior faculty.”
It was also pointed out that procurement of drugs for effective management is an essential component and that these guidance can be tweaked to local needs. States must come up with their own assessments based on stocks and costs involved.
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had approved the scheme for 2021-22 on July 8. This will be implemented from July 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022.
Phase-II of the Emergency COVID-19 Response Package (ECRP) has Central Sector (CS) and Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) components.
This scheme aims at accelerating the health system preparedness for immediate responsiveness for early prevention, detection and management with sharp focus on health infrastructure development including paediatric care and with measurable outcomes. This will help in strengthening decentralised public health actions and public health facilities in rural, peri-urban and tribal areas.
During the review meeting, the stakeholders were guided on policies and guidelines from the Ministry on the aspects of COVID management which would help them in strengthening their healthcare infrastructure to streamline response.
“Stakeholders have been asked to send their expenditure proposals at the earliest to enable expeditious approval and sanction from the Central government,’’ the Ministry said.