KARNATAKA

Facing a surge in cases, BBMP struggling to hire paramedics

Candidates at an interview for healthcare professionals at Town Hall in July.K. Murali KumarK_MURALI_KUMAR

Candidates at an interview for healthcare professionals at Town Hall in July.K. Murali KumarK_MURALI_KUMAR  

With the number of COVID-19 cases in Bengaluru on the rise, the civic body is desperately looking for medics and paramedics. The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has been advertising almost every day and has organised six walk-in interviews at Town Hall over the last 10 days, the most recent being on Tuesday. The response has been lukewarm prompting the BBMP to come up with different strategies to incentivise health professionals.

In its effort to fight the pandemic, the BBMP has roped in not only allopathic doctors, who have completed their MBBS, but also dentists and those from other streams, such as homeopathy, unani and ayurveda. They have been able to recruit 253 doctors, of whom only 21 are MBBS graduates.

But the biggest shortage is that of paramedical professionals, including nurses and lab assistants.

“As per our estimates, we may need nearly 1,000 paramedical professionals in the weeks ahead if we are to ramp up testing in the city,” said civic Commissioner N. Manjunath Prasad. At the walk-in interviews, BBMP has been able to recruit only 154 so far.

“At present, we have 151 mobile testing units, which we want to ramp up to at least 500, to reach a target of 20,000 tests a day. Each mobile unit needs at least one paramedic, if not two,” said Mr. Prasad.

BBMP wants to deploy a trained paramedic in all ambulances transporting COVID-19 patients to hospitals. Right now, there is only a helper accompanying the driver.

“The civic body is also planning to introduce beds with oxygen supply at 85 Primary Health Care Centres in the core city, for which we will need paramedic staff to work in shifts,” said D. Randeep, Special Commissioner, Health, BBMP, adding the Medical Education Department had deputed over a 100 staff nurses to the civic body on Wednesday.

“The lukewarm response is definitely because of the fear of contracting COVID-19. We want to assure people that we will provide for Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) kits and all other safety gear. This is a public health crisis when we need health professionals to serve people. We appeal to them to come forward and work with us,” said Mr. Prasad.



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